poem: beloved son

1
I’m up in the woods
I’m down on my mind
I’m building a sill
To slow down the time
–Bon Iver, “Woods”

2
Donda West is dead.
Her beloved’s still crying.
Stop. Listen harder.

Voletta Wallace,
Afeni Shakur: mothers
grieving for their sons.

Kanye West: the son
still grieving for his mother.
The circle is done.

2
Dig the growled music from a flatline
Her empty house is a 33′ spinning
The wind’s slamming her screen door
That’s just her soul nodding her head

Her empty house is a 33′ spinning
Don’t let the silence mean the music’s left you
That’s just her soul nodding her head
The piano will always wait for you

Don’t let the silence mean the music’s left you
We don’t always know when we’re grieving
The piano will always wait for you
Beloved son, see after her bed

We don’t always know when we’re grieving
Sometimes we break glass at the party
Beloved son, see after her bed
I promise: it ain’t right, it ain’t right

Sometimes we break glass at the party
Just needed something to clean up
Promising, it ain’t right, it ain’t right
No one believes your head is bleeding

Just needing something to clean up
You break the drum track over your back
No one believes your head is bleeding
Somewhere you know she can hear it

You break the drum track over your back
You never say her name but she’s the whole album
Somewhere you know she can hear it
This twisted fantasy: eclipsing the beloved son

You never say her name but she’s the whole album
Harder than the bling on your shroud
This twisting fantasy, eclipsing the beloved son
Ain’t no one left to love him

Harder than the bling on your shroud,
the wind’s slamming her screen door
Ain’t no one left to love him,
dig the growled music from the flatline

3
He said his best gift was the ability to see his music.
He once showed a painting of his song on MTV.
I wonder how much of this album is revealed as a howl
when played in reverse, and if that howl is a hydra
brandishing a scalpel. I wonder if the stuttering drums
are knuckles against the warm side of a casket,
the duet of piano and cello his earliest memory
of a three-year-old carried to bed.

4
Somewhere higher, now,
two gentle boys are kissing
Donda’s open hand.

Grieve away, Kanye.
You have, a year more than me.
My keys. Her cello.

Our music is hard,
born in the key change, heartbreak.
Play it. She hears. Loud.

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