Wednesday, April 7, 2021

At the end of the session by Tony Brewer

Two hours ago the music 
had a sweet melancholy
and a melancholy sweetness.
Fast or slow, it pained and soothed,
the notes and the memories they evoked
and the muscles paying for playing them.
Like rubbing a bump on the head
so hard is feels good 
or scratching poison ivy.
Or drinking past the point 
of social lubrication and onward,
as dim sunlight moves
the shadow of a great henge,
till the beer breaks on the granite 
of the gut and soaks 
into the stomach’s bog.

For the skin is the earth
just as the voice is the warbling heaven
of an E string, stabbed
with a finger twisting in the wound
of notes near the heart. 
A non-traditional technique
but just then, the tunes winding down,
all the cheer gone out 
of the table, no more money
left for pints, there was a rightness
musicianship does not require.

Even happy dogs sighing seem sad,
content at master’s feet,
worn out, and gray around the muzzle
but not yet too old to get up and play.

TONY BREWER is executive director of the spoken word stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival and his latest book is Homunculus (Dos Madres Press, 2019). He has been offering Poetry On Demand at coffeehouses, museums, cemeteries, churches, bars, and art and music festivals for over 10 years and he is one-third of the poetry performance group Reservoir Dogwoods. More at

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