“Mystic Jukebox” by Andrés Rodríguez

I can’t not hear your music
that’s always blowing rifts,
choruses, looping rhymes—
all the self-encoded songs
which tighten like bands
around the soul’s small dance.

You weren’t hatched, you wiggler,
you demon, you shadow-god
deaf to all but your own
machinery of unbroken song.
You were annealed in the torrent
of fear’s forgetting everything.

I used to stare at frozen creeks,
absorbed by clarities of sleeping
silt and the dreamless life beneath
curled into icy crypts. Oh,
I could kill you, grind you
under heel, salt you like a slug,
but I’d melt in the earth as well.

Then she came and poured
a new song into my blood,
and the music listened back,
bringing clear-headedness,
a sleeping potion night,
the crystal personality
of a new bell ringing my fate.

This thread of sound leads
deep into a perfect clearing,
where a cool pool cures,
where ear and music kiss.
No more raging or helpless
weeping. I dive into myself,
tunnel and spiral down
to a place that echoes
what I most want to hear.

Andrés Rodríguez is the author of Night Song (Tia Chucha Press) and Book of the Heart(Lindisfarne Press). In 2007 he won Poets & Writers’ Maureen Egan Award for Poetry. His MA in Creative Writing is from Stanford and his PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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