Not All Spell Is Ritual


Backstage at a disco club on Chicago’s South Side, circa the 1970s. Photo credit: Micheal L. Abramson

walk the house at night
and the warped floor
creaks testimony

a phantom
whispered out
in the morning cold
waiting to get to work
or for work to come

a candle blown out
the brow of smoke
protective veil

glassy-eyed ancestor
behind glass
who can say
what she sees
or is watching?

stone in pocket
wet with the same sea
that washed us
our last rites

bore us unwittingly
to babylon

chant it down
chant it down

what is a chant
but a stupor
of waves
the side
of our boat?

alpha song
a meditation

what is meditation
but prayer?
wetting our lips

a sharpening of static
in the air about us

readying for a labor
we’re not yet sure
we have the power
to produce

but that’s all
beating the floor is
pressing from the knee
making wood creak

a rupture

possibility of revelation

the flames of our eyes
rolling back
to see through the dark
of our own heads

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