Daniel Brick

Gold Star - 89,152 Points (June 10,1947 / St. Paul MN)

Losing August In Memoriam: August Wilson 1945-2005

Poem by Daniel Brick

I'm going to say
Frank, bring your silver flute
to the crossroads
where the living haunt the dead
and be a jazzed-up Orpheus
with a dozen riffs
on the standards
'Bringing back the Dead'
'Making the Dogs Howl In Harmony.'
Look in every direction
before you play,
you're free to turn
in a complete circle.
The young woman with sad eyes
standing under the willow tree
- over there -
will guide you across every threshold
and she will place in your hands
cool fruits which grow sweeter
with every song you play.
Play your highest notes
in all the tempos you know,
play your softest tones
with absolute breath control,
because tonight we're
losing August.

I'm going to say
come into this make-shift parlor
and sit on the blue-patterned couch.
You don't have to do anything,
you don't have to say anything.
A warm yellow light glows
from within you
and spreads in a radiant pool.
Soon a woman named Roberta
will arrive with a shy girl
who is her sixteen-year-old daughter.
They're here now, standing in your light,
holding hands, smiling at each other,
almost laughing they're so proud.
Roberta remembers
when she was her daughter's age
you taught her
how a daughter shows gratitude,
how a mother shows love.
And now Roberta, her daughter,
and you, Katie, and all of us are here
in the yellow light you spread
past the edges of the street,
because tonight we're
losing August.

I'm going to say
J. Otis
you arrived without a summoning.
You know what you have to do:
Build a pyramid in record time,
with a point that touches heaven
and a base wide enough to cover
all the precincts of hell.
I can hear you building
the most beautiful black pyramid
with sound blocks only you can heave.
You're standing on a stage of your own design,
there's a pile of poetry books nearby,
and you're heaving sound blocks:
trumpets blaring, sliding trombones,
sharp saxophones, even drums drumming
in a wild syncopation of jazz fury.
And suddenly it's you and Youssef,
and Langston, Amiri, Bob, and
just to the left, come Lucille,
Nikki and Rita, all of you
crowding together in the shadow
of a perfectly shaped pyramid,
because tonight we're
losing August.

I'm going to say
Louis Alemayehu
come singing and dancing
with Ancestor Energy
down the street named Grief Street
and make it forget its name.
Turn your ebony songs into a racket,
change your carnival dance into a riot.
Conjure the rivers that only flow
when your left hand touches
their headwaters,
and your right hand holds
their deltas:
Black River, Red River, White River, Brown River -
Louis, make them converge here,
because tonight we're
losing August.

I'm going to say
you're so far away, the distance
makes me dizzy, and I'm reeling.
You're far away, but you're listening.
I know you're listening:
Griot-man, you tell our stories,
you listen to our stories.
Griot-man, Quincy,
only you are brave enough
to carry this sorrow-load.
I can see you getting ready, your mind
as clear as a singularity,
you stretch your back, you
flex your muscles, then
quicker than a thought, lift the load
straight up, over your shoulders.
You adjust the weight, it's almost
out of sight. Quincy,
you carry the sorrow-load,
your heart expands, and you carry
the sorrow-load,
because tonight we're
losing August.

And I'm going to say
Maya, simply
Maya, you're here.
Come into the warm yellow light,
join our circle. Here's Frank.
This is Katie, and that girl turning her
head and waving to you
is Roberta's daughter, Gina.
J. Otis is at your side, Alemayehu
is getting you some water.
And Quincy is listening to you
over there in that pool of light.
Maya, you're here with us,
and it's like a bird who has just
learned how to sing, and he's
singing and trilling, racing through
all the notes he knows, and suddenly
he realizes he's flying! Maya, you showed us
singing and flying are the same,
and we need to do both,
because tonight we're
losing August.

Topic(s) of this poem: death

Comments about Losing August In Memoriam: August Wilson 1945-2005 by Daniel Brick

  • Sana GhostanaSana Ghostana (5/30/2014 5:46:00 PM)

    I really love this! How you made this poem so realistic. I felt as though I was in your circle of poets. Watching and listening. Your poem was spot on, real, and deep. I truley enjoyed it, especially Maya's part. Excellent job!(Report)Reply

    Keith SifelaniKeith Sifelani(6/10/2014 1:09:00 AM)

    You can be in my circle of poems if you want.

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  • Diane HineDiane Hine (5/1/2014 4:54:00 AM)

    Such a warm and inviting poem - I can almost see that pyramid of sound. The lines which begin with 'Conjure the rivers......' are terrific.(Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Poem Edited: Saturday, September 20, 2014