Lauren Linkowski



for Alan Lomax

How do you turn this damned thing on?

Did your mama bake pies with Crisco?

No one buys that stuff anymore. Have you noticed

men all lean out windows in the exact same way?

Some things go out of style, but others never do.

How did you decide who was worth the electricity?

Was it like watching a hurricane muscle in, sure

that tomorrow, the doors would be torn off and surging

downstream? What did you see in Muddy Waters?

In little Georgia? You believe she wrote House of the Rising Sun?

It had to be some woman who walked, shrouded in clouds.

What were the girls like in Mississippi? Did they feed you

potato salad and ham, light your cigarettes? Would they run

your wet white undershirts through their wringers?

How many times did you whisper into the flowers

of their ears whats the first blues song you ever loved?

Would they sing for you? How did you convince

Son House to let you see his bottleneck slide?

Money doesnt grease those wheels. Does whiskey?

Was it that you liked it so much you danced

in the dirt until the red Delta dawn? To hell with the laws.

Or was it because you worshipped,

sitting in a juke joint, solemn as an empty pew?

Even god loves an audience.

Why did Robert Johnson play facing the wall?

The first time I heard I Believe Ill Dust My Broom, it stuck

its fingers in my purse, made off with every word I had.

Was it the same for you? Was the world was quieter then?

Could you hear the moths smacking into the glow

of the silence between I think I got something

you never heard before and that first chord?

The static on those 78s cradles the music

like ribs around a heart.How could you know Id listen

to that toothe

hissing, sad as water on coals?

Ill grab at anything you left behind.

Why did you strap on those walking shoes?

Was it when people started forgetting,

the steps, the words? Did you realize that one day

wed all scratch our elbows, shrug

How the hell did that one go?



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