I didn't think I could do this. So much self-pity, self-anger, jealousy, gene-deep gloom. But I stayed up late, into that single-digit time I think of as "the wee smalls," when my inhibitions are lowest.
And I just wrote this one. This is approximately a second draft.
The dedication is problematic. I'm not sure if it speaks the truth about my feelings about Dave Carter; I think he deserves better than this. But he's an example of an artist who died too suddenly and whose words were then interpreted as prophetic. Go listen to the song "When I Go" and feel the pressure build up in your eyes, especially if you knew him.
Anyway, I'll leave him in there for now. "The Moon and Seven" is what he, or maybe his partner in all things Tracy Grammer, said was to be the title of their next album. That was a few days before his death; I was at his last concert. Later, Tracy released a collection of their later songs called Seven Is the Number.
for Dave Carter
We find our peace in buttonholes and shanks, dress you up
in that black suit you found at St. Vincent de Paul
(once a bargain, maybe a costume,
now a meditation on the open hand,
emptied into the poorbox,
where once bloomed
We need it unraveled, stitched straight: what that was
when you made seven words dance—for sins,
we ask? For weekdays? For veils?
The moon and seven some phrase
from the far valley where
your dreams traveled.
Swift birds became eagles, or buzzards.
Red flowers--chest-high, heart-deep--
broke the pine lid. Was yours the tongue
of an angel?
Or were you only whistling, jangling
syllables like pennies in the palm
after milk and meat are paid for?
Death made the jabber a riddle:
sewed word to deed to destiny.
You aren’t around to witness
what you had meant to say
when you were saying
I need a rhyme