You’d think you’d hear it,
overblown, blowing up
your mind, the dial over-
turned, woofer flowing
flowing a fat vibrating tongue-
hum. You’d hear it if you thought
it could save you. You’ll do
anything for a bit of salvation,
anything to be wrapped in blue
neon, a smokebox basement
with a quintet of angels hammering
out chords and a few squeaky notes.
Forget them pearly whatchamacallits.
You’re here for instant rapture, here to melt
in the span of a tune, ice slipping
into brown liquor. You’ll hear it
blowing up your chest
after a few more rounds,
when the ceiling lowers its ninth cloud.
Leaning back on two creaky legs, you’d think
you’d hear salvation laying you low,
running its tongue through your veins.
You’d think you were being thrummed
out of this world or farther into it.
But what’s the difference, really?
In some kind of heaven we hear
what we don’t want to, here.
Wesley Rothman’s poetry and criticism have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Mississippi Review, Narrative, New England Review, Post Road, Prairie Schooner, and The Rumpus, among other venues. His work has received a Vermont Studio Center fellowship as well as Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. He regularly writes for American Microreviews and Interviews, and teaches throughout Boston.