“In the Candle Light Hours” by Barry Brown


In the candle light hours
when pinwheel stars flash
like hot piano fingers racing
across the electric keyboard of the sky
I wander through midnight's captive forest
a seeker, teacher, preacher, celebrant, penitent
mendicant and street beggar in the art of love
the love of art.

In those nightingale hours
when murderous memories return
to tell all of how my once glorious swimming
among the muses
became a desperate drowning in a caldron of ridicule
and poverty
and how I wanted to die and let die
smothering every song the sacred voices of ages
sang to me from inside rock fiddles,
fireplace orchestras
and the crooning of the dark city rain.
Better to throw myself beneath the giant wheels of
God's Juggernaut chariot
than live as a wanderer without lamp or star,
misunderstood, alone
just another fiery fugitive from life's
cold river fingers
as they grasp at the knife
of cash-strating commerce
order my command performance
rule on community standards
assign the collective guilt
hire the inner cop
and nail up lists of conventional wisdom
on the waterfall of sound around us.

And in those moments when the vacuum sky
collapses into the sound for eternal ears
that no one hears
I remember the prayer of gratitude
that unwinds the Kelvin temperature of lonely space
into the simple sunshine
that is the tropical bongo beat of life
and the spirit blessing
of lovers and artists
to never be alone.