how to say hallelujah


The poem reaches like a zigzag vine
through thick vernacular
toward the actual here
& now (woodpecker in a pine).

Turbulent nation, giving birth
to glossolalia.
How to say hallelujah
in Osage, in downtown Fort Worth?

Don’t ask Dallas.  Some holy fool,
some mendicant small-fry
tried to catch Caesar’s eye
before that scapegoat kicked the stool –

you know the rule.  I’d’ve marched
if I had to.  The heat
made everything complete
hell.  Our very words parched

on our lips, like crackling cicada husk.
Some said he was coming back,
some just nibbled hardtack,
but all agreed – he could really busk,

back in the day.  Seldom was heard
a discouraging word, when
he blew that harp.  Listen,
disconsolate hearts.  What appeared

before you on the road to Emma’s
echoes again like dew
before morning – will do,
will do.  Old haunts of summers...


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