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Black Sage (for Henry Grimes)

Gordon Marshall By

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I have seen the stage lights play

the sly sagacity of Henry's smile:

the lightning on his lips, decades

dark with spattered starlight

coming back to his eyes.

To win words from that smile

that opens like a jackknife

drawing blood from parchment

spurting the sanguine melody

the black sage spun like spider

in fury wrapping Ayler's axe

—it is a dream, unless the song

of '66 wire its sound and touch

the new decade... Blade slices

again in air, olive wood in bloom:

I have seen it. He has indeed stood.

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