peter balakian   Rock 'n Roll  
balakian photo   The groove in black vinyl got deeper--

What was that light?

A migrant
I slid into a scat,

and in the purple silk
and the Canoe

there was a sleekness and a rear-view mirror.

And the Angels flew out of the cloisonné vase.
They were the rachitic forks hanging in the midnight kitchen.
And so I called you after the house was still.
My turquoise Zenith melting

and you asked: what was that light?

I was spinning. I was the trees shivering,
and the snake of coiled light on the ceiling
was moonglow.

I wasn't a fool in a satin tux.
I was Persian gold and blue chenille,
I was the son of the Black Dog of Fate.

I said: I saw a rainbow of glass
above the Oritani Theater.

Lord, lead me from Hackensack New Jersey
into the white streak of exhaust.

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Copyright © 1998 Peter Balakian.