Linear landscapes, from last summer
or Coney Island, perhaps, a peninsula
of the Nineteen 40s intact in memory only,
linked according to destination
and seated very close
to the Captain of the Ship.
They shall come and bloom again, the survivors
of still blue dawns and amazing erotic downtown
Family and friends, lost in transformation,
locked into Georgias red clay,
Alabamas limestone sill.
Across the hallway of time
one red light flickers solitary. East
or West Egg. Northern pleasures from the Jazz Age.
Off the coast of Leucadia I wait,
frozen into surreal place.
Like a lusty image come and gone, like
gourds of November clinging to smokehouse walls,
like the pulse of Niagara when the Master is finished,
these silences hoard a greater grandeur of meaning.
Far-off Atlantis nights, they haunt
me with homesick ballads
of Sasha preparing supper, of nomadic interludes
drifting in and out of coastal enclaves.
Later, in a twilight evening of perfection,
white candles sputtered into avalanche,
that onslaught of silt and flesh and bone
stored in salty earth-capsules,
hibernating until discovery.
Along the hickory hollows of the past
I see a house, four-square, mourning on a hill.
I see plants and animals dead and dying.
I see moonbeams leaning against the corner
of a nebulous world of make-believe.
A man waits in his battered muddy pickup
in front of Victory Baptist Church,
selling summer produce.
And of course Blue and Gray
sabers rattle across alluvial levees
flecked with blood, a man is down
in the canebrakes and other brothers join him.
Thin ragged lines disappear into history.
In the long ending, will it matter?
Lilac and wisteria, Natchez huddled
on its dogwood bluffs, and Oxfords creme-stucco
literature of rural loss, trashy dimestore people
dying in the dust of Jefferson. I know
I know the good ol boys from High Point.
I know I knew them when back then
in slantback and cafes of Dixie.
These Delta dreams, enriched
with horsestuff nouns & verbs, Aunt Rhodas
faded photograph, Mamas eternal rocking
on a wide-brimmed white front porch.
After receiving the guide-on I rode over
to the Promised Land for another look.
How far away, I thought, how far to go.
Piano music drifted out of Graceland,
and I simply closed up shop.
©Errol Miller 1999