A Poet Sings the Blues

Me & the Originator
By Al Basile
(Sweetspot, 2018, $13.76)

Poet and musician Al Basile has come up with an interesting concept for his latest CD, Me & the Originator: a story told through an alternation of thirteen poems and twelve songs. Yet this concept may not be the most interesting thing about the project.

Where We Are

1.

A splash with Locke
and reason ripples out, washing
a century hence on the far shore that’s art.
Some dwellers there re-see
the received; find themselves
shucking the received.

2.

A century on:
shucking done,
results in.
Abstraction a smash;
verse’s “first heave” immensely more
than holding its own.
Dissonance? Don’t ask.
All understandable. Hadn’t
eyes been abstracting for ages? Hadn’t there been
unmetered speech for eons? Whereas
Schoenberg (like a certain other seer)
was conceiving a New Man.
Which leaves us

3.

Standing

I’ve never been in a fight;
Not the real kind
Where you want to hurt a guy
You might get damaged by:
A fact that one could find
A little peculiar, right?

If I could pull some strings
And have myself remade
As someone with the guts…
Of all the sorry thoughts
A thinker’s ever had.
Among the primal things

A god could not undo
Is a wont to run away.
Were a son of mine to come
Under a bully’s thumb,
I’d know the words to say,
But lack the standing to.