Woody Guthrie

Callie Garnett

I have to admit it, I don’t like Woody 
Guthrie that much, I just don’t. It’s you
I think of when I want to flood my head
with Friend endorphins.

I am an American. 
Never have I been so touched & almost
gripped by the sight of them—
others of my kind. At no other time, 

it seems to me, has the earth
let itself be so touched as well—rubbed, caressed, 
pressed against their faces, the inhalers,
bitter where it bordered on taste.

When we bought it, they released the Woody
from the CD stocks with a beeper.
Flipping through, I leaned my knee up on the 
bin and my skirt caught, & Libbie saw...

Tower Records, 1999
I was a sad teen. But unthreateningly
so and helpful. Like if I had to carry
someone’s hat I would just wear it. A lot

of times, it doesn’t please when a woman is
splendid, begging,
violet, embroidered,
hearty, resinous…

Sticky, milky, stringy, green-juice cud dripped from
Jane Austen’s lower lip this morning
when I laid my hand upon her nostril, pale and warm.

Stringy, juicy green cud slid down her whisker.
sticky, milky cud came off Jane Austen
Where I laid my hand...

These twigs you sent, they cannot have been so beautiful
when you sent them. It’s getting colder.
These vaporous mornings are started, we ride

the train to Rhinecliff & walk from the station
to Old Post Rd, cut the screen on Emma’s house, go
in the window, down to the plush basement rug
& watch 3/4 of The Third Man

Outside, the big blue dahlias,
tall gladiolas shout their red 
flaw into the mist. The urban music 
of the summer ends in dissonance, I live

my private life inside…stupid, bare-ass, as
all down the Amtrak line I listen to the music of my deaf
VANITAS, “dressed in your worldly pride.”
Then I get bored & I have to admit it I want to go 
to the beginning again.

Amtrak with its dim brown seats &
pomegranate leather, the barroom car pretzel gold,
Old Cordovan tapestries, where light
intrudes in the corridor. Must we

reproduce again the tireless,
touching works that spoke, though we may have missed it,
of the duty to be healthy & do
something? I can already understand

the old men who walked out far ahead untranslated…