Sebastian Agudelo

Three poems

The Philadelphia Sound

Nothing to write about:
Man and “Lyrical God,”
how he christened the contrivance
clobbered to mimic the school desk
where he learned.
He sets it up by the exit,
makes the black acrylic sheets
rattle, babble, reverb
with his forearm, a pen, spoons.
A bunch of wannabes gang around
turfing a bit, mouthing the chorus.
The drill team in the median
could for auxetic purposes
bring it on, have a showdown,
upgrade the sort of off-kilter
stichomythia of tunes
Ives stitched together
from corners to score
who we were, reconcile
shark, braggart, brawler,
the pious, the patriotic,
the slatterns and the boss.
They trail off though, no team
per se, a quad, two quints, bass
with plastic collection jars
taped to each drum.
Born of necessity or budget cuts,
the kids with feathers on their hats,
duct-taped drumheads;
some music of necessity also:
sea shanty, waulking song, lullaby,
like a live cinder smuggled
from the gods to make it through.
And it galled the heart inside him
when he saw the far seen glory of fire
among mortal people.

Pay them no mind. However hard,
the powers that be will be.
Check the guy who claims
he’s “Little Sonny”
of The Intruders fame,
Gamble & Huff’s first moneymakers,
and forefather to The Stylistics,
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

No him, no Love Train,
Me and Mrs. Jones, Back Stabbers.
Daily, he backs his mobility scooter
against the corner of the bank,
unstraps his prosthetic –
part of his set up—
the leg he props a Solo cup on,
the Roland street amp, the guitar.
Grating, what he does to repertoire.
Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,
Only the Strong Survive,

masterpieces some.
What Gamble wrought:
the Philadelphia sound,
the man on the scooter,
the payola scandal,
15 gold singles, 22 gold albums,
him addressing the Republican convention
in a dark suit and topi,
fourteen million dollars worth of hits,
counting every penny.
As I said, not much to write about,
though the amputee is lying,
“Little Sonny” jumped off a bridge in ’95.

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