Here are two poems from my chapbook Older Than Our Fathers published by Mudlark. I haven't written many elegies over the last 50 years, but here are two I've done, though "Marriage" is not a classic elegy, but a poem with elegiac tones at the end..
And When Darkness
John King Allman 1912-1958
No, no, no. I said the light, then the wind, then the sound
of the blast. All the cells in his body obeyed that atomic
scramble. When he yawned, the trees on Welfare Island
bent toward him, then away. The sky over the East River
roiled higher and higher, as pigeons tumbled and sparrows
went flat as magazine covers. His life was after all a text.
Somewhere on page 30, the color bled, people were seen
exiting a theater, the sudden steaming rain soaked their
matinee shirts and ran down the bare arms of women.
I said the light, then the wind. The risen fire of his eyes.
The silence in space, as satellites wore out their orbits and
plummeted, and what arrived was cinder and the mangled wires
of speech. Though he could still talk. He could still wear out
the silk of your hearing. The praise you believed in. The fitful
joy that inhabits the movement of your hand, your slender grasp
here giving way, where he never let go. And when darkness
scarred the childish light, he never likened it to evil. Or penniless
fright. What came was always. And what took him away.
Look, look, look. What did you think it was?
A chip of moon stuff that melted in your mouth?
It's a dusty world. Day and night, nothing but traffic.
If her hand fits yours, it is a small rock that finds
its hollow. Her words kissed on the wind unsettle
your tidy ease. What wonders in the small of the back!
Because this is the theme: to be born again, fitted
to the curve, the invisible rise and fall, the muffled city's
wah-wah. When you hold her, a thousand fingers
begin drumming, the blood's jazz imprinting your
vulnerable speech. Oh, when was it not? Speak.
Speak. She dances away. She dances near. She
threads the rich fabric and brocade of elegant
furniture you cannot afford, where she has you sit,
prying off one bottle cap after another, your thirst
like the busy avenue, the opening and closing of many
doors, the dry occurrence of your mother weeping.
These two poems are from my online chapbook Older than Our Fathers published by Mudlark
©2017 John Allman
©2017 John Allman
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