Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Welcome to A.S. Coomer!

It's always good to welcome poets to The Song Is..., and tonight I'm welcoming A.S. Coomer, a poet/ novelist/musician from Kentucky by way of Ohio.

I, too, See a Darkness
by A.S. Coomer

I’ve got these Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Sundays
& sometimes it really is Sunday morning coming down
wishing like hell that I was stoned;
head hollow feeling like a burnt out oil drum,
cold creeping in through windows older
and even more frail than me,
jaw creaks then pops shifting head again,
the tract skipping a peg then righting itself.
Got the cracked blinds open
beaconing what meager sunlight
--spring seems held somewhere close at hand but wholly at bay--
to come on in and sit a spell.
There’s plenty of things missing
and I tend to dwell on these
but today, shaky & in bad need of strong coffee,
I’m doing my best
to focus on the pieces that’ve fallen into place
or, at least, spots vacant enough
to give the semblance of good fit.

When I sing
by A.S. Coomer

When I sing
you can almost hear the indecision
in my voice,
the lack of confidence
quakes, trembles like shaking children
fresh out of the creek dripping, a spring swim
too early, over eager, but irresistible.
The recordings, scratchy, fuzz-filled,
highlight this, some blinking red arrow
pointing out flaws, calling
“Hey, this is trepidation. This is
what it looks like.”
And when the last note rings out,
you’re thankful for the silence
but not as much as me.

With the end of the song
comes the beginning of the loop,
wrapping itself back around,
sweeping me off my feet,
back into my head, that place I live most,
where I’m almost fully awake,
there the melodies are alive
and fluttering only to come out dead
when the pen finds the hand and the pages are spent.
Why do I do this to myself?

There’s an inherent beauty
in nearly every-damn-thing.
The sun filtering in through the cat-cracked blinds,
the first cup of coffee--or the sixth--
and the opening chords of that rainy day record,
the one you haven’t stopping spinning since
picking it up used just after high school;
they’re all shining here. Glittering in a way
that never loses luster. Calling out to me.
Begging me to share. Whispering that these
haven’t been done yet. These words haven’t been sung.
These chords haven’t been pick-struck or finger-plucked.
And here we are: middle-circle, a handful of songs,
swaying and frayed and wonderfully mistaken,
but singing. Please, stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Skeleton Keys
by A.S. Coomer

I woke up this morning,
saw the roses dancing
in the breeze;
thought about three notes
on the piano--black & white
skeleton keys--and knew
the world was so beautiful
I could just kill myself.

I’m not sure how I feel about the sound
by A.S. Coomer

Can’t no one love you better than I did.
All these years, all those nights bright with fulfilled longing,
captured desire and twisted sheets,
to the teeth with a big fat love,
bursting at the seams, dripping with it,
slicker than any back country road post summer downpour,
juicier than any peach you’ve tasted.
Now, it’s just a picture of a picture of the thing.

The train whistle’s blowing,
blowing right by our house
--what used to be our house--
it used to make you snuggle closer,
something so lonesome in the cry, I guess.
Well, I was always just glad it was crying,
seemed like somebody somewhere had to be,
that’s what my grandmother always said.
And the result...

Now that you’re gone
even the coffee pot don’t look right,
sitting cockeyed on the counter,
beached by grains of staled, clumpy sugar and sticky spots
where I spilled the milk.

Baby, I don’t even know why I bother to pay the electric bill;
I keep all the lights off now,
now that you’re gone. Don’t see the point
in seeing the spaces were you ain’t, cos, baby, you ain’t.

And I remember sitting in that backroom down at the bar,
swaying to the slide guitar and the gentle finger picking,
putting them away with you
--baby, we could really put ‘em away, couldn’t we?--
and, with an arm draped around your shoulders,
I swore I would never write a song like that
(I swore I’d never write a song like this),
the troubadour up there tellin’ the story, his story;
one you’ve heard a hundred times if you’ve heard it once,
but hearin’ him you knew it true all the same
and you couldn’t help but move along,
just some unaware passenger picked up and carried off by the flash flood,
the rising waters of it, of it all, each of us dripping,
swimming in our own way,
because either you swim or you drown,
and we laughed. Sure, we knew I’d never write that song,
a song like that--like this--because I wouldn’t have to,
because you would always be here,
because we would always be together.

Hear that?
Train’s comin’ on down the line
and for the first time in my life,
I’m not sure how I feel about the sound.
A.S. Coomer is a native Kentuckian serving out a purgatorial existence somewhere in the Midwest. His work has appeared in over thirty publications. He’s got a handful of novels that need good homes. You can find him at www.ascoomer.wordpress.com. He also runs a “record label” for poetry: www.lostlonggoneforgottenrecords.wordpress.com. He writes and plays sad folk songs to (mostly) empty bars. Listen to some home demos: www.ascoomer.bandcamp.com

Of course, I have to post "Sunday Morning Coming Down":

Gene Clark's "Lonely Saturday" fits here, too.

His "In a Misty Morning" is also going through my head:

I'll move on to Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden's "Beyond the Missouri Sky" and "Spiritual":

Silence is a good place to end:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXZR4zxMDeA


  1. Like the themes and the melancholy voice spoken with humor.

  2. Love this poet I really like the imagery and voice!

  3. Wow,just had my sox blown off and I wasn't wearing any. A.S. Coomer, where have you been all my life?