Here’s a poem called Booksong about the power of books to save lives. It’s included in my Gutter Snob Books collection SONGS FOR LEAVING, which is out now.



Hands: Seismic
In attempt to still
I pick up a book
Throw myself in
Outrun that hungry tide
For a little while
It’s a race I know I’ll lose
Besides this is executioner weather
Red sun morning, halberds come a-fallin’

The splashing: divine
Now each ping just upsets still water

All the children singing,
“Fall down on your knees
& pray to the guillotine”

What am I punishing myself for?


Hot natured
I trace a bead of sweat
Back to its place of origin
A speck where the ridged Sierra Nevada

Of the bridge of your nose
Meets the raked Great Salt Lake

Between your eyebrows where I place

My torn and chapped lips
Reflex devotion
I’ve always been a man of ritual
Even if faithless
& I won’t lie
There was a time
When each raindrop was choregraphed

The splashing: divine
Now each ping just upsets still water

I don’t know what this says about me

Who knows? Some of it might be true


I wonder if that bit of you loves me
Or if it’s only a fairy tale I tuck myself in with

After a while I bet it does & there’s the gut punch

The responsibility of such love
The mammoth weight of it
But I’ve always been a beast of troublesome burden

Condemned Sisyphus slumped but moving,

Whistling back down the mountain
Another hangdog reprisal’s reprise
A deepening sweetness ringing like a cavity

There’s a part of me always singing
Beginning each morning in the previous day’s final failure
A broken coda, rent life in debris
Basking in echoes off crumbling concrete
Each bounce a lessening
Carried off on time and by distance
Leaving trails on all sides
Yawning off to distant curvatures
And Now is defined by Absence
And Then is a different river
& with each passing second, it’s renamed


Even when it’s bad pizza

Music is capable of magic


Books sing songs of their own
Sometimes choral, sometimes guttural
I hum their melodies as I race across this serpent’s spine

Feeling the thunder of The Ouroboros we ride
Tearing day into night as it curls into itself

Prayer: flat, rust-flecked harmonies

Under the Great Singing Saw

Wrenching jerks and sways
Flakes flutter in the friction of hands

Buoyed with the stamping of feet

You can dance to damn near anything
I’ve seen ‘em dance for less
Let’s call this one “The Can’t-Fucking-Get-It-Right Rag”
It’s a new recording of an old song

This is me trying

I’ve known edges & there I danced
Never quite achieving abandon
The movements jerky, the muscles ragged, tangled knots

The blade slicing with each of my awkward two-steps

My feet marked out like yearbook eyes
Places where angels wouldn’t dare dance

The only thing keeping me from losing the beat

The snare snap of booksong
A chorus of character, the plot a sustained refrain

A new move with each turned page

Trying my best to keep my head up
I doggy-paddle away from the cacophonous maelstroms of everyday life
Until my feet find purchase in the sucking muck along the shoreline
And I wade through inky lexicon
Shuffling inch by inch away from the dropoff
Dancing so softly it looks like I’m standing still

Apple Music


$15 includes shipping in the USofA. *Cat approved poetry **Cat not included


poem © A.S. Coomer

music © A.S. Coomer

Categories: Excerpt, Literature, Music, Poem, Poetry, sale, Songwriting, VideoTags: , , , ,

A.S. Coomer

Writer. Reader. Musician. Friend to cats. Collector of tattoos.

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