why I didn’t marry the drummer
why I didn’t keep weeping mingus,
hang my head till billie buried in me,
till davis done gone and gone again
the miles beyond the bird flew
a rat-tat-tapping trapped in the tree
of me with sticks that trip still
on stretched skin, skid to the tin
roof of blues and bessie
and the beat of hold-me-till-I-don’t-break-into-coltrane
struts its stuff into drum,
into sound and stick shacked-up with max and riff.
can’t sing straight with a voice of vows
through the late-night shift.
Versions of this poem were previously published by The Medulla Review, Urban Spaghetti, and Silver Birch Press.
Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published eleven collections of poetry-including True, False, None of the Above; Wives' Tales; Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I; Weeknights at the Cathedral; and Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation; the short story collection What She Was Saying; the anthology (co-editor) Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and four children's books. For more information, please see www.marjoriemaddox.com
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