“for the contrarian” by Letson Williams

making the whole process
more complicated than it has to be
no-body would disagree
it matters not
how good you are
what good you do

or does it

is the final measure
more than cronbach’s alpha
more than just seeing
if the same answer
can be had again
are any answers
is any



for goodness sake
for pete’s sake

my sake
for me

what about that
years speeding up
only to slow down
in libraries
and on dirt roads
in locker rooms
in your mother’s home
atop her piano
more for holding up
than stirring chords
or sweet songs

sing along

none of this
and none of you

the sunset
was not meant for you
nor was it meant for
everyone else
stone stuck
staring at it
without the words
to make a stand
only word enough
to meet demands
of consumer culture
that coffee colored vulture

with a shaker to the right
a stolen glockenspiel in the center
its silver bars glimmering in the middle

of it all
the glimmer
is something you hear
and if you hear it well
you can see it too
you can make it through the
through the roof


and if that’s not enough
to get you to stop calling me

then i don’t know what else
i can do for you

defend it
make a case
tell me why
you ended up in this place
and why you feel such a strong want
to heal the hate
to set it straight
from out of state

the harm’s long gone
don’t you know that son
don’t you forget what we told
you when we said that
we know what the color yellow
what the color yellow

what the worth of work depends upon
when we sat on the back bumpers of fords
always more than one
and just wanted to play golf
before we went back to work
before we came home
from the moon
or from utah
where god only knows what happened
and what that meant

the port in the storm
called itself arthur
but you always said
‘author’ like it was writing
our story
from the gulf coast
ankle deep in crude
strike broke

didn’t seem right to me
at the time
doesn’t seem any more right
despite my red subaru
and three green semesters
for the contrarian
the septuagenarian
who tricked me
every day of the week

Profile: Letson Williams

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