Elegy For Tim Buckley

Scat singing for the sleep deprived—
it's what the critics called his
final music, his ship that plowed

some great uncharted dissonance
as if that's where he was headed
all along, to the restless distance

between an ear and its pillow,
between the wind guard of the mike
and insomnia that whispered low

one moment, then rose, cried out
even, leaping five plus octaves,
he would say, though in truth about

two octaves less—still a journey
heavenward and back, a space that grew
wings on his feet, his voice. Joy

became the thread of mercury
in the mouth of a fevered man.
A lie then, the mythical cure

that aged him as he walked bent
high inside the city of angels,
a drop of midnight in his blood.

How he hated the confinement
of old tunes, of the small beach town
that was his bliss. These things he made,

they shadowed him inside the hidden
bungalow he painted black,
the morning nocturne of its curtains.

If no mythology would take him,
there would always be the starless
mandate of the unwritten hymn.

To sail off the edge of the world,
off the end of a spool of tape
where it fluttered on its needle—

tick, tick, tick. Picture a moon
deaf above the sirens of dogs.
It's here where the lost songs begin,

on the brink of a sleep that fears
no less, that closes its eyes to sing,
Here it comes, at last—no, here. Here

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