For National Poetry Month: "Empowered Cadaver"

April 26, 2014   •   By Sean Singer

Empowered Cadaver

“He who travels, learns.”—Romany proverb 

Django means “I awake.” This vurdon
wheels its wood spokes, through scrollwork indigos,

and a transparent red stove glows by the blanket, when
a horse clops through the center of the moon,

where Belgium is born, the Manouche, the maquignons. To wake
up in a caravan, with a plow or viola, canvas-covered hatch,

means to exist. But if we exist, at the frontier,
robbing chickens perhaps, flirting with Fayola (Violet)

or Draka (Grape) and sloshing around in purple liquid.
A niglo has barbed artichoke skin and hides

under its anointed bush. Stuff him
with rosemary, thyme, and wild garlic over

a roasting spit, through the clay, with
latcho rhaben and a savory liver. To awake,

to see the window, and the horse-drawn air,
to awake to the dark musette, and the purple valse.

A hedgehog winds his piston, by the chimney,
and Grappelli and Reinhardt screaming fragrant honey,

under the sky’s purple canvas. The sound gets
to be part of your body. Lester Young sleeping with his horns

when Billie wasn’t there. Black faucet, black suede. Django Reinhardt—
guitar superman. His black moustaches sip the milk foam.

No one listening to him turn a girl into a puddle
has ever complained. Look to the side and he’ll be there.


Sean Singer is an American poet. His book Discography won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition and the Norma Farber First Book Award.