by Cooper Casale
I Listened to “Mount Eerie” by The
microphones and threw out all my
But I feel you on my neck. You are a bow of Fire!
the music of the band
cannot be real
no one makes those sounds
on their guitars with typical strings
no one has any words
not those words
no one writes a life of songs
until their wife dies young
and writes some more
no one can do that
yet I hear the guitar
I hear the drums
I hear the sounds he makes
with his little voice
his fingers fussing
across his buttoned flannel shirt
if the sound
of life is death
what noise can I make
I love you
please don’t die
—after “Guitar, Sheet music and Wine glass” by Pablo Picasso
An old man in a wicker chair sits
alone in the center of the yard.
Dirt climbs the apartment’s siding up to its dirty windows,
shut behind him.
The damp air pressing against his body shivers in the heat.
He strums a classical guitar sitting crooked in his lap.
A passing truck coughs toward him, and, for a moment, he disappears.
Reemerging from behind the truck’s gray cloud, his face looks caved in
and wet: the look of someone left behind by a half-forgotten friend.
There is a piece of Picasso’s that I am reminded of;
it goes like this—
A guitar, some paper music, and a glass of wine,
shoulder their broken bodies into one another’s spines,
wrestling together for space in the wallpaper behind them.
How things settle relative to one another is religion.
At the center of the piece, a zero of white sun is left
open, where the sound comes out of the old man’s guitar
with the slightest nylon thud.
I will not think about dying,
about any afterlife,
which could not contain the joy of this one.
Cooper Casale is an MFA candidate at Georgia College and State University, as well as a graduate of the University of Georgia. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Chattahoochee Review, the American Journal of Poetry, and New South. He lives in Milledgeville, Georgia.