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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 48

It is not a Soft Song

The song is never going to be a soft song
until the dead are buried and ghosts haunt our dreams.
This is the way it has always been.
The dying do not sing in churches.
Their songs must overcome those
who march with rifles and AK-47s.
Their songs must overcome starvation,
must overcome the overlords who cage them,
cannot be confined to academic halls, and yet
reverberate in the salons of wealthy patrons.
They are songs impossible to sing without rage
that fuses into sunsets one year beyond tomorrow.

Chaucer’s pilgrim wanders into Bocaccio’s Decameron
armed only with a candelabra and electric harmonica,
and grieves as the rats begin to dance again.

Jared Smith