Friday, February 24, 2023


He’s a session musician and part of the backup band,
always standing in the penumbra of light to the left of the mic,
never all out, never all in.
He lays down the guide track in the studio,
polishes the rhythm, kickstarts the beat
while raising the entire pulse of a song up a fourth,
fingers sliding up the fretboard of his axe
when a new verse wheels about like a cotillion line.
He’s the backbone of the band, whose epitaph
is always buried six feet under the liner notes.

The old woman pushes a broom and beats a rug
before planting turnips in a three-by-six plot of earth
that will will one day accept the humility of brittle bones
for their long journey into ashes and dust.
She’s little more than window dressing for the neighborhood,
never all out, never all in.
She’s the backbone of the universe,
and only the blackbird on her mailbox
knows how she holds everything together
for a band that plays music so loudly
that it is unheard by the ordinary shuffle and shoe,
unnoticed by the commoner’s vulgar ear
but so close to the journeyman’s soul, and so new.

~William Hammett

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