Go JoeGO Go! Poems for José Gouveia, Day Six: John Bonanni


Oddball Magazine will be publishing ongoing tributes to José Gouveia to in the hopes of raising awareness of the Joe Gouveia Recovery Fund, an effort to help offset the costs of the poet’s upcoming cancer surgery.

 

A Crime is Committed in Barcelos
for Joe Gouveia

I.

A rooster walked into a bar

and introduced me to each tweed jacket
and each pair

of Bahama shorts and boat shoes.
A microphone spoke its reverb
from the parking lot.

It was the kind of place where
we served ourselves
and where, once told to do so,

we hung our own art
and called it movement.
The Board of Health loomed

like a fat capitalist
demanding a water view.

The rooster gave him Das Kapital
and we laughed while his money caught fire.

II.

A singer wrote his notes
along Main Street

and his chalk made the sounds
of a combustible steam engine.

My left ear, with magnets lodged in its lobe,
called this jazz.

Meanwhile the Board of Health cited

the sky for its failure
to record its water temperature
at fifteen minute intervals.

The Board of Health wanted a signature
but no one was around to sign.

I walked home covered in rooster feathers.

And the Harley’s exhaust left traces
of gray along my voice.

III.

Something went wrong with the Harley.
Some things are not worth mentioning,

even in gray.
Especially the carburetor.

The point is, the rooster kept me up,
rattling around parts of his Harley.
The rooster is a muse, and a dedicated one.

And if the rooster says pray, well then,
you fuckin’ pray.

IV.

I never watched a rooster get hunted
until I had to

and even then, how do you intervene?
These dogs are so loud.

We move awkwardly,
write angry letters

to the Board of Health,
make protest signs

out of old IV tubes
and we crow.

V.

The Board of Health writes
back to say

it needs more signatures.
And a post-dated check

won’t do. Inside the envelope
the dogs are barking.

And the rooster,
like any good symbol,

postures, darts forth, fights,
tenses for each blow,

wakes us all up,

then heals itself with his rasp
of a louder phoneme, heals

with lavender, with text,
with kale.

 

John Bonanni lives on Cape Cod where he serves as editor of the Cape Cod Poetry Review. He is the recent recipient of a residency at AS220 in Providence, RI and his work has appeared most recently in monkeybicycle, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Assaracus.

Oddball Magazine will be publishing ongoing tributes to José Gouveia to in the hopes of raising awareness of the Joe Gouveia Recovery Fund, an effort to help offset the costs of the poet’s upcoming cancer surgery.

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