Sunday, June 1, 2014

"The High & Lonesome Sound" [Russell Brakefield]

"The High & Lonesome Sound"
(Russell Brakefield)

Earl Scruggs’ right hand fans affront that calve skin oval like a phantasm
on an onion, a shadow show, a misshapen eclipse— every sleeping  soul
awakened at the run of his fingertips. Five little men bend together

as in prayer or like a steady fleet rowing across a calm sheet of water. Let men
buy back beauty in this way, in antenna & wire, wearing down the carpet
in front of the dials. As a child, let geography mean the sudden burst

of an octave harmony, a high G string drowning out the sound of shaking
herds laying down against the dying grass. Nashville, Montgomery, Jackson,
St. Louis— movement opens in the recesses of the body like an uprooted bulb,

alien & dirty, shoots moving out from its center towards the cracked sky.
Let this music fill the hills with desire like the poisons of the body fill graves,
like a sweet but final embrace. At night between trains, let it replace want

with something gentler, let it cover the tracks like blackness, seep across
the ties until even the crickets are pinned down & quiet, flush with the rocks,
intimate with movement, at odds with every aspect of resistance

"The High & Lonesome Sound" by Russell Brakefield appears online at Bluegrass Today. Brakefield teaches writing at the University of Michigan and is also a serious bluegrass enthusiast: "My true talents lie with the written word, though, and I wanted to attempt to elegize the bluegrass genre, as well as help bring the conversation of bluegrass and folk music into the literary landscape. Traditional musics have a tendency to be marginalized by academic writing circles in favor or more classical tastes, and I wanted to attempt to write something that would change that."

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