Ray Charles and Waiting on Spring

Here’s an exerpt from my radio show, Forest Fire on 90.3 fm Beloit which aired last Thursday and will air every Thursday until early May.

Kevin Young is a poet who was raised by a chemist and opthamologist in Lincoln Nebraska. His influences include Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson. He currently teaches creative writing at Emory University. His latest publication is a collections of poems called “Book of Hours” in which he examines the death of his father and the birth of his son. In reflection on his new book he said, “I think music is poetry in the sense that I think the condition of poetry I’m going for has some qualities of music that it aspires to. I also think what I love about poetry is the way that music is in the poem, is in the words themselves. It’s not behind it, it’s not in front of it — it is it. Music and the blues, they have taught me a lot.”

Song of Smoke

by Kevin Young

To watch you walk
cross the room in your black

corduroys is to see
civilization start—
the wish-

of your strut is flint
striking rock—the spark

of a length of cord
rubbed till

smoke starts—you stir
me like coal

and for days smolder.
I am no more

a Boy Scout and besides,
could never

put you out—you
keep me on

all day like an iron, out
of habit—

you threaten, brick—
house, to burn

all this down. You leave me
only a chimney.

There won’t be a show this week due to the fact that I’m in New Hampshire, but be sure to tune in Thursday, March 20th from 8-9 pm CST for new folk tunes and poetry about renunciation and the season of waiting. Around New England and the Midwest some people wait for the snowbanks to melt, some wait for Jesus’ resurrection. Gardens, vitamin D, front porch living, lower heating bills. I’m waiting for green leaves unfurling and the smell dirt as it squishes under my boots.

Please comment with any favorite poems/songs/quotations/thoughts about waiting from you or your favorite artist! I’ll be sure to include them on the show next Thursday.


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