The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


L. A. Renza

"The last radio is playing"

                    --Bob Dylan


Mornings in the 1940s
a blue box with plastic yellow knobs
spoke with this and that intimate voice.
You had to imagine its face,
round or perhaps with an Anglo-Saxon bass.
For a while I heard some War was going on,
but I was too young to know.
For example, I thought all Germans were green.
Sometimes it announced that city streets
raged full of snow and thick, cold winds.

And yet, I was told that things
would turn out indubitably fine.
In those days, I never came across bars,
and even dumb souls were bound to get saved.
Besides, the vocal sounds said that
certain treats from cigars to chrome cars
could lead to happy debuts.
People also essentially believed in harps,
that is, never really died
but instead just left for better ground.

Of course, nowadays radio waves alone
can’t prevent the eventual scar.
At best, they twin with techno-guides,
electric sigils to see you through.
Doubtless they all provide a pleasant ride,
no albatross tracking like a ghost,
and can bring you far
from those seacoast tides that leave behind
thin sticks of soundless loss.
What fool wants to turn out a wet fossil?

But then, I see now that some people exist
who should never die but do
while those who should
hang on, persist, forever battle
to outlast our vigils.
Can we ever doubt this doubt enough
to vent a calm bravado and avoid the prattle?
Edification now descends from loud louts.
Hidden wires ruin our skies
while our greatest verbs go numb in crowds.




L. A. RENZA is a retired professor who has published critical works on suck writers as Poe, Wallace Stevens and, most recently, Bob Dylan.



Previous | Next