for James Baldwin

there is this microphone wire
and we do not know clearly
where it started
but we’ve been
chasing after it now
for so long
static pace after static pace
fingers dry as the sun
cracked and worn thin
the microphone wire
traveling through our grip
as we heave and hoe
in pursuit
of something

this microphone wire
they say
leads to something
to a great microphone
for this audience
that just sits
but does not move
that observes
but does not help
like a terracotta army
that’s never fought in this war

and still we step on
tangle after tangle
some days
tripped up
wrapped in our own heads
in dreams deferred
our finger tips
so close to the electricity
we are mostly water
all of us

still we step
wire in hand
and they say it’s there
that someday we will arrive
and standing at the podium
we will sing a song together
that booms through
the ugly halls of time
and shines bright gold paint
in the cracks
the paint below remains
the pain in our feet
our hands as dry
as a raisin in the sun
and maybe we’ll realize
that you do not need an amplifier
and you do not need a microphone
in a room
that is intimate enough
for everyone to hear


Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. Author of Stupid Flowers, out now through Punch Drunk Press.

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