From Harmonics:

Late Rain

That night the newscaster reported fire
at the guitar factory, I watched
string-wire flames spring up and out,
unwinding like phoenixes
from their little paper envelopes.
Men dragged belated hoses
to the edge of a black silence.

I switched off that cratering wound
and laid my acoustic on the back lawn,
sound hole up to the wind.
Through the night, cold rain filled
its body, and at dawn
I laid down, too, and played.
The weight of water on my abdomen
(like the heft of a suitcase
that could take you anywhere)
swayed with my breathing.

Two minor chords, one major.
A progression old as the hills,
the hills, the hills. My voice
kept the factory’s ashes airborne,
buoyed up and out from the industrial park,
out over halcyon suburbs
where sleeping fingers move
through blues scales like prayer beads.
My song trued the yawed necks,
calmed the skewed frets, braced
and healed the warped bodies.
And supine on the wet grass,
I heard the tone wood trees
of my neighbour’s lot resonate
with sustain enough to shatter crystal.


Our politician is thumping
his staunch fist. Now he pummels the air
to prove his determination.
The time for vacillation is past,
he booms. We must act now to stop
the warming of our planet.

The destruction of our planet,
he expounds, ignoring the thumping
blue vein at his temple, must stop.
We must save our lucrative air;
we must mobilize before it’s past
saving. This party’s determination

is to draft a determination
somehow regarding our planet
and its costly plight. In the past,
there’s been much futile tub-thumping,
politic cud chewing and hot air
expelled in the attempt to stop

pollution, but it didn’t stop.
No, friends, past determinations
weren’t determined enough. That’s why our air
cancers the skin of the planet;
that’s why ancient trees are thumping
the rainforest floor in numbers past

sustainability. In the past,
your corrupt leaders refused to stop
stuffing their pockets, to stop thumping
their pinstriped backs. A determination
to determine the fate of a planet
won’t just appear out of thin air —

especially since they don’t make thin air
anymore. We must boldly blaze past
the infighting that has placed our planet
in jeopardy; today we must stop
it all with determinations
both quick and cheap. At this, his thumping

fist receives its thumping answer, the air
churned with determination past
belief: non-stop clapping for the planet.

Copyright © Jesse Patrick Ferguson, 2009