Two Posters on my Wall
(Homage to the Faulkner Conference at Ole Miss
drink machines stand in front of the pool hall,
bearing down relentlessly on the Mississippi
dirt. I imagine six men inside, probably black,
pool listlessly and idly sipping Old Milwaukee
the sun disappears and they can go home
television and the window air conditioner
makes August and their families bearable.
church, and a gray background of winter.
Snow lines the steps;
Be careful Grandma, dont break
Your hip again. The Good Lord might not let it heal this time.
Paint peeled and cold air mocking the wood trim
Of this building that the Baptists abandoned 20 years ago,
So we poor might assemble before an even sterner God.
we should have had a jazz funeral,
Sashay down Flower Street
With horn and drum, celebrating
Your trip to the promised land.
glad morning. . .
we missed our chance that day in January
With sunshine, like coffee and beignets
At the Café Du Monde, on our shoulders.
this life is over. . .
maybe, by golly, we missed the boat,
Like watching the red lights of the last ferry
Across the Pontchartrain disappear at midnight.
fly away. . .
no musician, but I could have banged
On a triangle, made the sound of the street
Car on its way to Audubon Park where a little
Old Cajun man sits under a live oak tree,
And tells you that he wrote Jole Blon,
And then tunes his guitar to sing a sad ballad
Of Evangeline in a minor key.
a home on Gods celestial shore. . .
I think we should have had a jazz funeral,
West teaches English at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski,
Tennessee. He has poems in the most recent Number One and
in Prairie Poetry, Phantasmagoria, Mount Voices,
Roanoke Review, CrossRoads, and others.