all those sneezes and shouts, the snatches of crazy music written on the sides of tacos, the soup kitchen mumbles and junk tumors, the noises set adriftinto the vortex: none of this ever allowed youto unstrap your ego and let it swing, perfumedin the night, the glossy black of the deep spacenebula-stained empty. none of it allowed freespeech to grow any wilder or softer, though youthsas fair as ancient catamites, biblical concubines,lay hypnotized by your voice. even those elderlypuzzled at the gates of dusk wandered in your verse.it was mostly hogwash, one knows, the listenerin the presence of the postmodern moment, tunedto the radio, twisting the dial, painting billboardsin the sky as the government compiles its lists and academicslaunch surveys and rocketships. all this was a mission,a violin in a high window that released its sighsupon you like a lover—the whole earth overwith all her tangled karma, the expanding mirror.
Leslie Whatley received a Ph.D. in English from Florida State University and has published stories, poems, and essays in Yemassee, New Southerner Magazine, Hotel Amerika, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere.