There's a house somewhere I know where the fire's burnin'
All night long…
And even though the wind may now be howlin'
The stars are bright and they push me on and on
—“Half Moon Rising” (Yonder Mountain String Band)
SWINGING ON WINGS OF FLAME
We keep exploring outer space for answers.
Out there, we learn that black holes make sounds
of music as they swallow everything
around them. Celestial destruction
to the tune of string band melodies, as if
the Osborne Brothers or the Red Clay Ramblers
had booked a cosmic venue where eager stars
do-si-do around dark matter’s edges.
Sit still and you will hear creation’s story
spelled out with mandolins, fiddles, five-string
banjos. On Earth we are orchestrating our
own demise. Everything has turned extreme.
Our hottest week just past will not be last.
The burning air tastes like barbeque.
Put an ear to ground, hear it singe, smolder,
sear from simmering smog and haze.
Far better to harmonize and tap our feet
as Earth’s axis shifts and we wobble, weave
like drunken sparrows. Saharan sands might
land in Kansas while floodwaters choke New
Jersey highways and algal blooms poke out
from Florida’s rivers. Grab a good seat
at our cosmic amphitheater where smoke
rises from the speed of guitar picking.
If you listen closely, you can hear some scat,
nonce, argot. Go with the flow. Flat Foot Floogie,
Tutti Fruiti. Explosions of fervor, fury
unleashed by gas ripples in galaxy
clusters. Who can say this fate will not be
ours as well? One hopes we won’t be around
by then. For now, we can dance as glissandos
of sound drift from the heart of the Milky Way.
July 13, 2023
Extreme Weather Poems
The New Verse News