Blues Bar
Thoughts on the Patriot Act

words like “thanks” and “bud” cut the smoke. thick ticks jumb, pumb here; wire mellow hymn notes hit between the rumbles of our newly optimistic hand gestures: the clap, the finger & the fist. In the audience, we cry, we slampap, we hum the blues because we know the blues; and maybe even more importantly, tonight we don’t stroke our black cats; we don't sit at home beside our open windows as saccharin summer night-rain drips off the roofing outside. we don't wish we had voted or got a job at Steve's Pro-Life, Anti-Gay Marraige, Death Penalty, Creationist House of Ribs and other Godly, Embriotic Treats.

The only sacrilegious puddles of beer and pot residue and poems drawn on wet napkins are found on the greasy, bathroom floor here at the Blues Bar, where the appreciation of reading and writing doesn't feel like a goddamned curse.

Here, We hear. We listen. We COMMIT TO MEMORY these pats and pecks of skin-skin, book-eye relation; snapping along to the beat of some kinda blue to the beat of banana pancakes, of locomotion, to the beat of our gratitude for the sound of resistance, to the sound of collective action and just preemptive fear.

And what of the capricious censors of love, of our love supreme, of THE love supreme?

They aren't here tonight.

See them, my friends, Mister John and Mrs. Jane,
since they spoke to me with that trumpet and that pen,
I’ve lived. I've grinned. I've taken to the theory that it’s time this time, this night,and I gotta play it all out.
Because we all know here, that the Golden Honey is the Art seen on channel twelve
and besides that, that Great Daddy, Uncle Sam, gives no reason to expect anything other than failure, that in our brutal, blissful apostasy, our poems will go unread, our songs will go unheard, our Lives will be Forgotten and our Graves pissed upon by those with degrees in Business!
But no! Here. We know, here that Life is like the steam of a fogless soup, That Life is watching television channels
during their respective commercial breaks and snickering
that Life is like lighting it on the stove, risking the inevitable loss of our eyebrows, or going utterly cigaretteless
that Life is best handled by taking no antidote it prescribes, that in doing so, we'll all end up dying a death unsuited for men of true courage by a poison called “supporting our President” or by a few less militant, “being Patriotic.”
But still, tonight, the song changes and in our last, drunken hour the feeling's just as fervent as it was three hours ago.
It beckons that we join ourselves; it shouts: Come and thump those empty-ass censors, push them from thier mahogany countertops onto their marble floors. Come and push out your true ash, knee scab, Midnight flaccidity blues and stamp out
the pictures of important politicians and their powerful lawyers who hock the goddamned shit like crack.
Block with your words and your sound the belts that blackbeat the blues;
Hold your head from the cold hands that shake brainstems with ice and make you think to yourself,
“what is the fucking point of writing at all?”
And in your anger, forget it all and listen to the smooth, unabashed retalliation in the discordant pumps of Every Time We Say Goodbye and you will hear in his final note Coltrane or the man playing him a statement in sound: “Those ambulance-chasin bastards and those gray-haired men in suits that kiss babies are still gettin paid pennies and pennies”
and “We’re throwin copper into the fuckin wells-of-justice and no wish, not yours, not mine, is ever granted.” and “These men are clones, retyped tripe of insects that buzz to the queen bee called Business: the lady of the hour who is always bitching at the impotent boys who write poems, who is always trying to fuck the awkward Boys who beat lyric, who can’t satisfy her unnatural needs… her starving, dirty coot …her unshaved groundbeef monument to the greenback, to the five-spot, to the tax collector to the graves of our callous-handed fathers, into a state of soundless submission. Boys who rather tap their pens to the pulse we call Statement! than follow some innane, arbitrary drumline in good ol' Washington D.C. Boys who sit, with tobacco smoking in our lungs, holding cheap liquor in hand with slapdash excitement, as the applachain trees are back lit and beautiful on a Godless Sunday Morning.”
And then, as the sullen trumpeteer falls off the stage, winded and tired and tired for no goddamned reason of his own, I sit, sip the beer and tip the man who plays Coltrane the last buck I've got because in the time it took for his breath to push out the horn and the horn to push out whatever fucking feeling we've got left in West Virginia, it was exactly the same amount of time it took for me to realize and admit it fully:

We've started wars for reasons less than this.


What do y'all think?