Poetry: Ace Boggess’ “Has the Music Faded at All?”

—Lawrence Watt-Evans, Night of Madness

The walls have learned a low hum—
basso, staccato—
like a tuba stuck in a wind tunnel
or so many elephants endlessly marching
around the perimeter.
The opposite of a canine whistle,
it marks its moans
in sensible waves setting cinderblocks atremble
in aftershocks.
A little of the shake, rattle & roll,
rockin’ in the unfree world,
more twisting, less shouting
except when such a ghostly stutter
starts to push its audience
toward madness
as when, just before bed,
one hears a fragment of some forgotten song,
stays awake remembering for hours,
or regretting. That sad refrain
won’t leave you, &
you despise it like the grind
from an airplane’s engine
or rap kids driving by
with windows down & radio up,
blasting that bellowing groove
that always beats
like a tell-tale heart.

***

Ace Boggess was locked up for five years in the West Virginia prison system. During that time, he wrote the poetry collection The Prisoners. Prior to his incarceration, he earned his BA from Marshall University and his JD from West Virginia University. He has been awarded a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, and his poems have appeared in such journals as Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Southern Humanities Review, and The Florida Review. His first collection, The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled, appeared in 2003. He currently resides in Charleston, West Virginia.

Photo credit: virulentwordofmouse.wordpress.com

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