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Obbligato

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Late August was a pressure drop,
rain, a sob in the body,

a handful of air
with a dream in it,

summer was desperate
to paradise itself with blackberry

drupelets and swarms, everything
polychromed, glazed, sprinkler caps

gushing, the stars like sweat
on a boxer's skin. A voice

from the day says
Tax cuts

for the rich or scratch
what itches or it's a sax

from Bitches Brew,
and I'm a fool

for these horns
and hues, this maudlin

light. It's a currency of feeling
in unremembered March.

There's a war on and snow in the
city
where we've made our desire stop

and start. In the dying school of Bruce
I'm the student who still believes

in the bad taste of the beautiful
and the sadness of songs

made in the ratio
of bruise for bruise.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

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Obbligato

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