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ASK LATER, SIR
       
for Ornette Coleman

by Michael Jay Price

A fine smile a simile fanned
for a mild former queen and
a former king a peon doted over.

Duties denied; at outmoded data
he spoke polka dots and peonies
and paeans penny histories stored.

Among mortified trees he, lost
in inner space, pawn for a knight’s
mock immaculate relevancies, wry

and hazardous diversions, hid;
heart unarmed. Churls, clowns,
friars, squires, pages, knaves, patriots

and parrots rioting intrigues --
rogues and roads pleading,
leading disaster to disaster.

A beggar bled, begged
a noble. The noble fled;
ennobled the beggar --

wrens, parakeets, kites and falcons
singing faltering fabled
hymns for alms for all;

as spasmodic armies’ affectations
circumscribed miscellaneous poetries,
hurling a disabled world to pieces.

Robins and ravens reveled. Sparrows,
straying, stayed hungry, pigeons
thrived and rivaled doves.

A shy maiden language so spoken
whole, a lady and a joker gauged holy.
Then poked holes in. Yet, in an age

when plump words like plumage
loom, angling a subterfuge, birds’
fugues unfetter chivalry’s lone ways.

 



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