under-the-old-appletreeThe Gotan Project
reverberating tangoed reggae
the summer we spilled from the first floor
as steel bands pass by in their smart costumes
shiny buttons gleaming against oiled skin
feathered masks and sarsaparilla staining mouths
learning calypso had been the moment
I slipped from one world to the next
we listen peaceably
I tap the point of my shoe and then my heel
like when I wore coins on my sole
you have an oxygen tube in your nose
the bags beneath your eyes are gathering wool
serving your country leveled your ability
for small talk
but music can make strange bed fellows of us
you say
is this Spanish?
I confess I’m unsure
of the exact ingredient
isn’t that true of so much these days?
you snort and for a moment I worry
your beliefs are in line with segregation
until you unfold the photo
of your curly-haired children
their ebony mother with her muscular neck
crossed with sea pearls and a faraway gaze
salt breeze bleaching the tips of fingers
it’s them that keeps me going
you say and your eyes are veined and bright
for a moment as if you absorbed the joy
of love and it healed you
rising from mirthless wheelchair
we shift dry footed across lino floor
whisking it fast with purpose
I am spilling in scarlet, you in patent tux
your hair a wild brillo sheen
the world of what was and what is
flickering beneath rhythmic eye lids