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hammond spinet in the living room


their aged voices,

infused with the easy musicality

of the caribbean,

and my own white boy

pseudo-gospel playing

still ringing in my ears,

my fingers and palms

still feeling the bone dry press

of their old, calloused hands,

i let the mostly inexplicable tears

trail down my face,

afraid to wipe my eyes,

experience teaching me

soot from the decrepit

living room organ

i half resuscitated

would blind me

far more than my own weeping.

alanis crooned over the car stereo

over her broken heart,

and try though i might

i could not dispel the image

of the old man who had been

crawling around on the floor with me

as we dismantled his treasure,

watching my every move,

asking the same questions again and again.

i could not vanquish that vision

of vanishing intelligence

as he looked pleadingly

towards his wife for approval

the way a child might look to a parent,

''it's alright, isn't it?"

a half dozen earnest attempts to dissuade them

laced with the promise of a newer, better organ

all returned void,

''sometimes, you know,

it isn't about the money, young man''

she said, but she looked at her husband

the way jesus must have looked

at mary magdeline.

' yes, ma'am, I agree"            



west 58th

23. january, 2006