David Graham
These Are the Days of Such Hard Music

These are the days of such hard music
you can hardly tell singing from moans,
from gasps mixed with long, unluscious sighs,

but for sure the taverns are crowded, smoke
rising from hundreds of hands, jukeboxes
trying too hard, like little brothers in the batter's box,

and the rain doesn't fall like a gentle idea.
It sluices off the broken rain gutter like horse piss,
it splashes and ruins the carefully painted signs.

The roughest voices seem most honest,
which is a foolish prejudice we cling to
as a dog will mouth and mangle the simplest stick,

mere firewood to us, but for all we know the one
and only true possession.  We are such dogs
we don't know better than to yell at the shepherds,

the retrievers, the hounds--for lack of a better idea,
yelling the names we have given them.