{no makings for a song?/sing anyway}

This morning, a death in my family. And as I wait to see what I can do (nothing, now), and where I am needed (nowhere, likely), I am thinking of what other friends and community are going through – a friend caring for her older brother, as her aging parents don’t know how to help after his 5150; two other families reeling at the loss of their mother; a dialysis machine turned off on a father; a treacherous discovery of cancer. Add to that, the continuing heartburn of the national conversation, the new names added to the list of the women (Deborah Danner, Renee Davis). And I realize, as always, there is just. so. much. grief. So, so much grief to go around.

It may not yet be time for unrestrained rejoicing, but I need to take a turn around the room, to dance through the fire that seems intent on burning me down to ash.


Time you put on blue
shoes, high-heeled, sequined,
took yourself out dancing.

You been spending too much
time crying salty
dead-fish lakes into soupspoons,

holding look-alike contests
with doom. Baby, you
need to be moving. Ruin

ruins itself, no use unplanting
what’s left of your garden.
Crank up the old radio

into lion-looking-for-food
music; or harmonica, all indigo,
breathing up sunrise. Down

and out’s just another opinion
on up and over. You say
you got no makings

for a song? Sing anyway.
Best music’s the stuff comes
rising out of nothing.

~ Mekeel McBride
reprinted from Dog Star Delicatessen, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2006.

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