"Big American Horn," "Five Horsehairs and the Soul of an Afternoon" and "Saving the Day"

Five Horsehairs and the Soul of an Afternoon

Desperate and out and on the street with a bowed psaltry
and David on guitar—
on the Circle cheap bastards
filling Washington with their contempt
and their shame—
this culture of Washington to shine what is strange—
who gives you two cents,
but two people gave us 2 cents,
and one gave us a dollar,
like Mother Teresa
or Princess Di, who were dead;
what we leave on the street
belongs to you, to you:
five horsehairs and the soul of an afternoon—
we will sell platelets and scrap aluminum and our opinions,
all worth more than music on the street,
out on the Circle—and if I was puking
would you love me,
would you pity me,
would you hold out your hands
and lay me down to die?



Big American Horn

Henry Miller’s a big American
trumpet blowing out some pioneer
burst of life in endlessness
and all goodness, seeing the land
stretch out there onto the mountains
and an unseen coast, a vast
potential of the mind, untapped—

and here to tap it, horn blower, blow,
always blowing about yourself,
American, and singing Yankee Doodle
with a smile of pride

the bumpkin falls over the edge
of the earth and laughs because
it’s all the more to see

the night like this before us
with a hundred living things
becoming thousands and all
flaming across the bridges to Virginia
with a life citizens never know,
in touch with every second by some new tool
and drawing in the electricity,
losing zero,
forgetting the rocks and trees—
they always seem to know,
and what I most love of them
is in the end, when you meet
them, they have never known—
they have been buzzing at lights,
swatted down, too, by gods

land is forever;
a dead planet is solid rock;
a volcano carries on the voice,
the celestial horn

blow, blow, and then blow—
the sun yet lives, the wind hot
and thick, and the children
still play with the simplest things—
we have lived without our drags,
and will again

effusive, annoying horn—
the book closes,
and, somehow,

drunken words carol about street pedestrians,
and they look around them at the sky, distracted;
the trinket light urge
fails a moment, and then consumes—
yet some are drunken and never return—
the mystery remains mysterious



Saving the Day

Going there,
getting there
is no sin;
how you get there

Then you read about the fat
famous funny guys
who died lonely
on drugs and desperation
and the frantic scramble against
the rising tide,
and the rich famous guys
from wealthy families
or singing careers who fought
it off on skis doing crazy
shit you just can’t get
away with

I think they knew
the trees were there
all along
and just found a
way to hit them

reaching out from
on a terrible
slick slide

and the baby cries out of sleep,
certain he is nowhere
without love and lonely
and lost and already
on a slide

my baby needs
and I



Jeff Bagato

A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music and glitch video. He has published nineteen books, all available through the usual online markets, including Savage Magic (poetry) and Kill Claus! (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.com. Jeff recommends supporting Angry Old Man Magazine.



Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 22:04