"If I had to have a religion, it'd be you."
The world has no end
of people happy to tell you what to do,
if I compared this shimmering highway to a river
it would be a lie. The erosion of pleasure inevitable
& cruelty walks barefoot among us–red dirt,
pale water, shale slices that tell the story of a place,
a million years of blood & history: compression:
out of mud is born life, followed closely by music
because: what else? Here is where I often
say: "Stop." Or, better: "Listen." Not this time–
what you choose to hear is up to you.
I always return to harmonica,
intoxicating whine & wha-wha of love song,
the pull of a woman who loved me once without end,
only this, too, is a lie of the sort I tell myself
every morning, every night, every right & wrong
& every dogwood for five hundred milesspells her name in white blossoms.
Oh, it's a religion, all right, this music:
fiction & friction of flesh against flesh:
only way a body knows to battle loneliness.
The best blues harmonica player on the face
of the planet is a man who never told a lie he didn't believe,
who stole his name, his best tricks–everything
except his sound–& that he gave away.
Forget all that. There is a woman who sets him on fire,
a woman who brings him to his knees as no god
ever has, a woman he needs the way rain needs river.
It tempts me to call her the source of all
that is holy & harmonic but I must be honest for once:
the music came first, & out of that music
was born thirst close your eyes, you can see it:
spring day in Mississippi, man & woman
naked in the wistful riverside grass after making love
under newly wakened sun. He plays harmonica,
she holds on tight, they shiver in the heat. This moment
contains the beginning & ending of everything that matters.
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