Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Screamin' & hollerin' the blues; or, it's like soul man.

I first met Jim Murphy at one of the Vice man's legendary Catfish cum Croquet 'dos. He is a kindred spirit. After all we both got "Strawberry Fields Forever" on THAT FB Living Social quiz.


Manners still intact, smack of poor talk
speaking on our lips—mid-afternoon
rain makes the roof tiles steam across
the empty row of streets. The parkway
is so far and unconnected from us now
that traffic seems to be a sound from
some other century. We may never play
the Charley Patton 78 we found this morning
for sale on two sawhorses and a door.
It's silver-blue sleeve promises a knockout,
but we'll have to put it in our book and wait
to see if what's on the brittle wax still swings.
These gifts are simple, held in one hand
up to the light and rattled hard for soundness.
For the right ones we're ready to break the bank,
as if the mementos we devote our spare time to
collect and endlessly nail up as evidence
were all free for he asking. Paper money,
case of wine, wall of books—all free. Our luggage
sits in the pool of rainwater. We sag on the split
gray lip of a bench, and I have to pull you
close just to feel that you're still there.
Even the green mountains can go to hell.
For the shameless moment, I covet my own life.

—Jim Murphy, The Memphis Sun Wick Poetry Chapbook Series Two Number 8 (Kent State UP, 2000)

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