James Daniels

James Brown Esperanto


“Please, Please, Please,” James Brown
crying please 26 times. Each time
italics and boldface and underline
and superscript and hieroglyphics
and cave drawings and smoke signals.

The ache of your leaving/the missing
tooth of despair/the smashed headlights
of future fog rolling in/empty trellis’
sweet scent of miraged roses/torn
paper of bad erasure/stench of bus
grief/diesel sweat/burned cloth/guitar
string/strangulation/wrong tree cut down
no putting it back stump rotting
in its own sweet time despite 26 pleases.

Your face in the bus window, crumbling.
Out here, words on their knees.