Alan Britt: Two Poems

Sufi Moment

One mistake. That one mistake.

Just one is all it takes
to send our world
into a gyro-verse that we
barely recognize.

Still, if we could retrieve one,
just one
mistake from the tapestry
of our lives,
which one would it be?

Remember, we’re allowed
one mistake only today.

Tomorrow’s up to random fate
(how ironic) fate sporting one
vermilion swirl on its jester
cheek with a corroded brass
bell crunching each arthritic
big toe crammed inside its
crumpled deerskin slipper.

Remember, today we’re allowed
one mistake only.

So, choose carefully.

_____

Go, Johnny, Go!

(Listening to John Doe’s “Let’s Be Mad”)

We poets remember all those crazy nights
spent cruising the Mount Royal Tavern
or Broadway in Fells Point as though roaming
a wasteland fueled by enigmas.

Yeah, those nights spent wondering
about our next move—
should we head for home;
after all, it’s only 2 AM.

Those nights intoxicated by youthful dementia.

Those nights wandering beneath the peeling arches
of Red Door poetry readings populated
by Baltimore’s liveliest poets of the day.

Nights that delivered black rain, plus
alchemic monks dipping their waxen fingers
into pools of ecstasy, Georg Trakl style.

Nights that detonated our brains to flow
from industrial stacks coughing black plumes
above the Harbor.

All those nights that spawned a revolution
inside muscle cars fueled by flaming saddle
shoes and slide guitars!

____________________________________________________________________

Alan Britt has been nominated for the 2021 International Janus Pannonius Prize awarded by the Hungarian Centre of PEN International for excellence in poetry from any part of the world. Previous nominated recipients include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Bernstein, and Yves Bonnefoy. He was interviewed at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem. A graduate of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, he currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.

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