Walking Through Your Song in My Soul

Walking Through Your Song in My Soul

A Chapter by Marie Anzalone
"

written for Emma's song contest- works best if you listen before you read

"

Letter to the late Utah Philips on his song  "Walking Through Your Town in the Snow"

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj_slZCEPKU

 

Growing up country poor, I knew that man, of whom you sing-

the one you don't let us disavow, this time;

a stranger unto us all, head down, shuffling along down our streets.

Through your words, I feel the snow balling into ice on his cuffs;

the water seeping into thin cotton socks

inside worn, cracked boots, mottled like old doorframes.

Vapor from his breath forms crystals in his mustache,

which he removes carefully, as they pinch and hurt;

and his hands are stuck in mispatched gloves stuffed in pockets

of someone's cast-off parka.

I feel the chilled pain in his jaw from cold sinuses,

clenched teeth throb in front of a parched tongue,

each handful of snow consumed seems to only take

more moisture out of a mouth already raw and sore.

It is late, and both lonesomeness and the home in his bag

weigh him down now, the pack

soaked through where it set in meltwater;

and that insistent dull ache radiating

from somewhere underneath the coat, reminding him

it's been hours since a burger- and his metabolism

can't quite keep up with this chill,

as snow squeaks underfoot like a rusty hinge

on a doorway to the underworld.

There are few worse feelings than knowing there's no place

for a man to rest his weary feet;

small towns don't have 24-hour shops for people with no dollar to spend.

I want to see through your eyes, Utah,

that day you were inspired to draft these haunting chords

that put this tired wanderer on our street, make him one of us,

Cleverly, through the use of "your town", instead of "a town";

you bring him home, outside our front door, walking past the Post Office.

I implore you, teach me how to pen your vision, please-

for we need to see again, so badly,

in a world gone cold with heartlessness.

Show me how to make others see it, too, like you did for me-

feeling numbness and resignation emanate from each powdery footprint

left by aching arches and cramped toes. Most of all-

help me make those others imagine, for once,  "let's pretend this is me",

and be moved, so-

to bring that man a thermos of soup; some warm bread,

and a place d****t just to rest a single night,

when he walks next through their own town.

Help me make him merely human.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




© 2012 Marie Anzalone



Author's Note

Marie Anzalone
Compassion seems to be a dying art.

Can't seem to get the video to work, but please give the song a listen before you read. Thanks.
-Marie

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Featured Review

"Vapor from his breath forms crystals in his mustache,
which he removes carefully, as they pinch and hurt;
and his hands are stuck in mispatched gloves stuffed in pockets
of someone's cast-off parka."
...wow-you do really have a talent for imagery---jealous here:)
"I implore you, teach me how to pen your vision, please-
for we need to see again, so badly,
in a world gone cold with heartlessness."
...and this is existentially gorgeous!!!
i love your work!!!

james:-)

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Sometimes songs inspire poems in me too (not always when i'm in a position to write them), so i really connected with this one.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

these are wonderful words

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

when our words meet metal, we can do magical compassionate things . . . you have the art mastered by now

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

We sometimes need reminding that compassion is a necessary part of the human condition. This poem allows us to ponder our own past mistakes, and perhaps make amends in future.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

There is an eloquence to the humanity you paint here... You both inspire and challenge us, which is the art of profound poetry... Makes my heart ache to feel the wanderings of so many even now on our streets.. help us "make him merely human.."

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is a insighful write i thought kind of sad too. I like this alot.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

"Vapor from his breath forms crystals in his mustache,
which he removes carefully, as they pinch and hurt;
and his hands are stuck in mispatched gloves stuffed in pockets
of someone's cast-off parka."
...wow-you do really have a talent for imagery---jealous here:)
"I implore you, teach me how to pen your vision, please-
for we need to see again, so badly,
in a world gone cold with heartlessness."
...and this is existentially gorgeous!!!
i love your work!!!

james:-)

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

...you can see the man for sure in this. I happen to know in my job others who must live through winters in the cold, pulling a piece of plastic over themselves, going through their lives, a different kind of life that they lead. In our town, there are numerous men, with the shelters filled, cannot find a place to stay in the 20 below weather.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This write touched me deeply. Years ago my father lived on the streets while I wondered where he was. He relied on the kindness of strangers when he was between jobs and drifting through life. To have compassion in our hearts is in my opinion one of the most important virtues in life. Thank you for taking us down that dark road and reminding us that rich or poor we are all human :)

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

"There are few worse feelings than knowing there's no place
for a man to rest his weary feet;"

These lines are a poem unto themselves. I had never heard the song prior to today and your words against it is wonderful. Such a touching piece.
If I could scoop up all the lonely people and just touch their hand in kindness, that would mean more than a boatload of money.

I have missed your writing. It always takes me to a deeper level and leaves a footprint.
This piece though tinged with loss, sadness, loneliness for him, makes me hope...

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 18, 2010
Last Updated on August 12, 2012

A Pilgrimage in Epistles: Poems as Letters and Observations


Author

Marie Anzalone
Marie Anzalone

Xela, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala



About
Bilingual poet, essayist, novelist, and technical writer working in Central America. "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, .. more..

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