Micah Ballard

The Name
The Name: Selected Poetry 1973-1983
by David Meltzer
Black Sparrow Press, 1984


Shots ring out
& cut in the night rain
strands of matted hair
with white enamel
do their work
in the hour of Mars.
Bowing before them
"it is only the maiden trying to get in"
& this is her story silent.
Here for the undertaking
what matter the body & its scars,
wars thru which it has passed.
Set in sapphire
& strung about the neck
there is no breath left
Carved upon the rock
the catacombs have been locked
& time will not vanquish
these letters.


Last Rites

Strewn with quicklime
& lain face downwards
each bears the same name

having turned white
from night. Strange
they should call back

apparitions who've left
no trace, whose fate
has followed & passed

into present. Crowned
inferior & assigned
to the ascendancy

might each life sufficed
show within their wounds
& if something inside

speak different
then to it also are we mediums
an open tomb for us all.



Far from hotel, city street & travel
we return not unharmed
but rather come back to scenes
already dreamed.
Given our final votive offering
she is it, Black Amber with Pole Star.
Inverted & hung upon the chest
let there be no regret
For without it dying does not forgive
nor relation rank pure to those
already gone. Without revenge
might they be carried across
& faces from the street turn back
to those passed in a crowded barroom.
Oh it all gets lost, "that's how
their reflection & retaliation becomes
not bound." Hidden from within,
may we serve to interpret the signs
& as a shore to our wanderings
become one with the vast silence
which moves manifold
to their design.


David Meltzer

He is the writing I have come to know
& never since abandoned yet always
return back to. The experience in all
or rather the occasion before or after it
never without undoing & certainly alone
in his powers. He's with us now, but wait
there's that familiar sound, sweet cadence
of laughter, the conversation always
as if one were channeling the other
the seeing ahead to hear what is not near
but been here all along. He is not
without us or we his music, but has
summoned us here as he might tonight
just to get this down, let us all in
as he's coming back out.


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