Cornelius Eady



After the fall of the towers, it’s hard to leave our apartments,
Pull our eyes from the television, stuck on instant replay; so many angles,
So many lenses, all this work and effort just to be told they’re gone.
Again, then again. How to deal with this invitation, now seemingly from
Another planet, to come and read poetry at a downtown bar?

For the first time in my life, poetry feels a bit foolish; the thought of a grown man
Reading verse aloud, a half mile from a mass graveyard, the wreck
Of things too numerous to list, a shamble so loud it still rattles
Our astonished brainpans, even after all these weeks, and I hear my parents’
Early doubts; what sort of job is this, the words that say I love jazz, my
Singing about mice, the things I overhear, then slot into stanzas?
After saying no to one or two of these, 

Maybe it’s the memory of my dead dad, getting up, rolling out, can’t recall a sick day
On the job, that plops me in the cab, his soft, wordy boy. Maybe I’m
Only doing what the sun-burnt grass on our lawn upstate does; what doesn’t die off,
Soon curls slowly toward the light and air, tender, relentless. Maybe I need
What the small crowd that gathers here needs, the boom of Sekou Sundiata’s voice,
Though the sirens remind us, and the streets are spare and ghost lit,
And we still don’t know how to put it.