Charlie Parker negative
No trickster god,
demon, savior, saint or
train wreck, but human, very.
Not irrational, primal,
primitive, dark unconscious,
exile or martyr.
No more priapic
than your Sunday morning
erection. Not lost or liminal.
There are no “Negro streets,”
no heroin angels or
lavender moons of despair.
No lilac evenings, no metaphors.
They all went bust, and all
is not well, not well at all.
No “pure instinct.” But
fifteen hours practice a day,
and love might begin again.
The Blind Musician of the Wind
Blind musician of the wind,
I seek you in all your secret places.
Never were chaos and uncertainty
so beautiful—This wind is all the fates.
How you taunt the finest wind vane,
unpin its every fixed assertion.
Now you send the young girls spinning,
weaving their hair to mystery.
I listen to confessions of the trees
rising from the longing in their roots.
Even from snake holes your music rises,
singing every secret of the Fall.
Whistling through window cracks, chiming
the crystal of the stars, making the moon
go round, (holding her child in her arms),
and filling my heart with sweet confusion.
If I could remember what you remember,
I might travel through time and vision,
find the ghosts that once made a world cohere,
and seed their silent fields with song.
The day my mother dropped a net
of oranges on the kitchen table
and the net broke and the oranges
rolled and we snatched them,
my brother and I,
peeled back the skin and bit deep
to make the juice explode with our laughter,
and my father spun one orange in his palm
and said quietly, “This was Christmas, 1938,”
and he said it without bitterness or anger,
just observing his life
from far away, this tiny world
cupped in one palm,
I had no way, no vision, no right
to comprehend an orange.
The night I forgot to be afraid
refused to build a bomb shelter,
even though the factory where he worked
had a contract
and wanted him to build one.
Instead, we sat on the front porch swing
and ate Eskimo Pies
that wept down our shirts
as we listened to intricate crickets
design the dark.
“We’ll be all right,” he said,
as our deathless feet moved over the lilacs.
About Sean Lause
Sean Lause teaches courses in Shakespeare, Literature and the Hero, and Medical Ethics at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. His poems have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, The Minnesota Review, The Alaska Quarterly, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Pedestal, European Judaism, Sanskrit and Poetry International. His first book of poems, Bestiary of Souls, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2013.