The Luthier's Poem

Life happens
even to musicians
harmonize motets
birth death encores

At the library the homeless woman reads obituaries
wishes somebody might write hers

A blue sedan abandoned to weather
waits for a tow; crammed migrant occupants
picking produce flow north

Mayans from Guatemala search for pueblos,
sing in languages no one recalls
like Welsh Shamus Scot’s fiddle
Gaelic wailer of ancient odes
frame drum pipes
war chants mysteries Druid magic
blood trail written in squash, beans, corn

Appalachian danced squares
moonshine love affairs    feuds
Hatfields McCoys  colliers’
hymns don’t get black lungs to heaven

too proud to bend
giddy-up fiddles
banjos do-si-do burlap and calico
worn from plowing

Guitar frets worn as the women
who toil in endless sun
rounded bridges carry overloaded SUVs
children dropped over an angry wall
Mariachi songs for bunioned feet
never retreat
rainbow serape
maracas, trumpets, bravado

or is the word machismo?

music language life
deep furrows souls

The birthday cake woman
wrapped in rags and Homberg
spits and coughs death’s rattle
lacks laces for castoff men’s shoes
hums a dirge from mother’s
funeral she cannot remember

A man, drunk by noon, sings
offers his bottle to a brother

Sympathetic strings reverberate;
next time comes around.

She uses yesterday’s newspaper
to sole her Goodwill wingtips
Rest assured, she ain’t going nowhere
just dancing to the music
no one else can hear.

On the border, the detention guard,
salvaged from Germany
says nada,
mutters, wonders
how many have crossed today
his great-grandmother played the zither
sang We Praise Thee, King of Kings,
In darkness when we waited

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About the Author

Sometimes Ken Weene writes to exorcise demons. Sometimes characters in his head demand to be heard. Sometimes he writes hoping what he has to say might amuse or inform. Mostly, however, he writes because it is a cheaper addiction than drugs, an easier than going to the gym, and a more sociable outlet than sitting at McDonald's drinking coffee with other old farts: in brief it keeps him a bit younger and more alive. The result has been a lot of words.

Kenneth Weene
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