Togetherness

By Yusef Komunyakaa b. 1947 Yusef Komunyakaa
Someone says Tristan   
& Isolde, the shared cup   
& broken vows binding them,   
& someone else says Romeo   
& Juliet, a lyre & Jew’s harp   
sighing a forbidden oath,   
but I say a midnight horn   
& a voice with a moody angel   
inside, the two married rib   
to rib, note for note. Of course,   
I am thinking of those Tuesdays   
or Thursdays at Billy Berg’s   
in LA when Lana Turner would say,   
“Please sing ‘Strange Fruit’
for me,” & then her dancing   
nightlong with Mel Torme,   
as if she knew what it took   
to make brass & flesh say yes
beneath the clandestine stars   
& a spinning that is so fast   
we can’t feel the planet moving.   
Is this why some of us fall   
in & out of love? Did Lady Day   
& Prez ever hold each other   
& plead to those notorious gods?   
I don’t know. But I do know   
even if a horn & voice plumb   
the unknown, what remains unsaid   
coalesces around an old blues   
& begs with a hawk’s yellow eyes.

Yusef Komunyakaa, “Togetherness,” from Poetry (May 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Yusef Komunyakaa.

Source: Poetry (May 2005).

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Poet Yusef Komunyakaa b. 1947

Subjects Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Marriage & Companionship, Theater & Dance, Love, Living, Music, Realistic & Complicated

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