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Yes, Him: Jahn Xavier Returns As A Soul Man Turned Poet

X marks the spot, 1985

 

(Jahn Xavier is the soul singing denizen of the Lower East Side in the 190s, who formed the Nitecaps and released one of the 2013’s best albums, Yes, You. He returns with a book of poems and here we share some from the gifted music and songwriter– Ed)

 

Ars Poetica – One Hundred Plus One

Poetry is as big as the sky
What can I say in ten minutes?

Poetry is me
listening to myself
Listening to you
Listening to the world.

Poetry is like dancing with the ghosts of flooded houses.
Poetry is the ocean catching the sun.
Poetry is the silent space between heartbeats.
Poetry is the wisdom of children.
Poetry is the minute that just passed
and the minute that’s coming up next.

Poetry is me.
who am I?
Poetry is you.
Who are you?
Poetry is us.
Who are we?
Poetry is a window.
What’s out there?
Poetry is a mirror.
What’s in here?
Poetry is ephemeral.
Where does it go?
Poetry is a shopping list.
What have I forgotten?

 

Bitter Blue

Bitter Blue
Recalling you
While alone with me
And my ennui
Inside this machine.
“Doctor, Doctor,” I cry,
“It hurts when I do this.”
Doctor says “Then don’t do this.”
That would be a funnier joke
But I had to be there
Alone and scared
In that infernal
Internal
Eternal wheel
Shackled to those chain reactions
Angry interactions
Red–rage-Induced
Flashes of flame.
Loving bonds reduced
to orgies of blame
hurtful names
And weaponized shame.
Tough shells upended
Revealing undefended
Innermost fears
Pain that sears
Cauterizes tender flesh
Until so scarred
no hurt can ever get in.

And never so much
As a lover’s touch
A cooling breeze
Or apologies
Will ever tease
Our soft underbellies
After words like these.
Bitter Blue
Recalling you
Reviling me.
The ‘me’ inside this machine.
Tilt sign flashing
Flippers locked
As the ball drops
Once again
The aggrieved child
Inside
My adrenaline-filled hide
(With a cortisol side)
courses through the speedway of my system.

Those chemical bonds
To which I am bound
Release the hounds.
Blinders on
Vision red and narrow
Anger in my marrow
Blink, and it’s on
It’s on.

It’s up to me to forego defense
To truncate my truculence
In the circus of circumstance
To drive the clowns back into the car
To be driven afar
When given the chance.
Until Bitter Blue
Recedes from view
like you do.
As I’m born anew
Inside these shoes
I see what’s true
When the god in me
Greets the god in you
As I draw a sigh
And say goodbye
To the scattered litter
Of my Bitter,
Bitter Blue

 

Dear Atmosphere

I am not a bird
It is plain
This earthbound body
Strains skyward.
Flightless during waking hours.
In blessed sleep
I slip the bonds of gravity
Unshackled from terra firma.
No falling
No fear
No failure of will.
I soar
Breeze-blown and boundless
With minimal motion.
No wings of feather and wax
Still, with the gentlest angling of arms
I drift
Decelerate
And dip downward
To again climb cloudward
And beyond
To the translucent line
Where blue meets black.
I skirt the edge of our realm;
Breathe easily, deeply
of the thinnest air,
Swooping down through warm rushing wind,
Returning, always, to all I hold dear.
To you.
To us.
Grounded once more.
I have learned to love our gravity during daytime
Yet pray for flight at night.
I glide through the netherworld
Before sleep carries me aloft once more.
I perch
Perchance to dream.

 

Who Am I To Say?
(For Jamie)

This wall is well-built
Forged of mournful stones
Bricks formed by intense pressure
Names etched by the bitter tears
Of grieving families
Sorrowful friends
Bewildered by depths they cannot fathom
Asking unanswerable questions
Of those who could not answer
Even if they were here.
This damp gray chill
This quietude
Speaks to my mood
To this void
Formless
Rootless
Uncertain
Untethered.
I’ve lost so many scattered souls
in this yawning chasm
The bottom of an empty well
littered with bottles and bags.
The echoes of hurt in the holes in them
Reverberates
Through the hole in me.

Who am I
To be certain of anything
When I do not yet know
The truth of my own old soul?
I’ve caught myself
Lying to myself
Too many “this times” to count
On all my daughter’s fingers and toes
My parents’ fingers and toes
My friends’ fingers and toes.
I meant each “this time” those times
And I mean this “this time” this time.
But I wouldn’t bet on me.
Would you?
I remember an ancient Chinese curse:
“May you live in interesting times.”
Lo and behold, they arrive
This time.
My clay feet stand on shifting sand.
No sheltering harbor
Or lee shore for the unmoored.
Who am I to claim myself the exception,
The exemption
Despite my best intentions?
If I ever needed to match this pit with spirit,
It is now.
In these interesting times.
In these interesting times.

Reverie

Pale pink chambray to bright blue
Shining round white moon floats
As if hung by wire
Over mountaintops crested with gold.
Awakened by the stillness
Of the calm before the calm.
I want for nothing.
I am everything
I am everyone
The world flows through me
I am whole but not separate.
Complete
But not completed,
Humbled
But not defeated,
Confident
But not conceited.
Fashioned from the stuff of stars
And the spaces in-between.
One among many
One part
One apart
But never alone.
I am never bored
For this is life’s reward.
I am enmeshed in this day
With all it may bring
Old fears melt in the crucible
And become the gold that tops these peaks.
Night will fall again
As it will – as it must,
But all is bright right now
And still.
This is the day.
My day.
Our day.
The only day we have.
Each breath is a reminder
Stay awake
Stay awake
Stay awake
Arise.

 

2 Comments

  1. Jahn Bonfiglio on February 20, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    This guy is a phony. He can’t write for shit. Why are you wasting our time with this crap?

    • admin on February 21, 2021 at 4:25 am

      Not true, Jahn, not true – IL

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