the museum of americana

a literary review

Toasts to David Byrne — Poetry by John Paul Davis

 

Here’s to the thin singer in a too-big suit,
to the fake broad shoulders & widow’s
peak, man-child on the battlefield

of big business. Here’s to the floppy-legged
lover dancing with a floor lamp,
keening about home, hair sweat-damp

from the mellifluent work of weaving
a nostalgia for the future. For speaking
in the nerd’s dream dialect I didn’t know was my native

tongue until I heard a song called Love:
Building On Fire pealing out from a windows
-down station wagon on the backroads

of North Carolina, I’m lifting this glass.
You so often titled your albums
like they were advice to the poet: Stop

Making Sense, Remain In Light,
Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.
Here’s to you, atheist vicar of the mundane,

the finite, the fleeting. For being neurotic
on stage & in music videos, we, the weird
salute you. I confess I reach in my pocket

to check for my transit card every time
I leave a room or go outdoors whether I’ve used
it or not. I’m certain you’d tell me to celebrate

that & all my other quirks. We, the apes
who taught ourselves to balance
our checkbooks, ride bicycles

& make way, before boarding, for passengers
leaving the subway train, we the vain
& lonesome primates who invented dancing

& PHP & wine raise this round
to you, lanky oracle of the present.
Elvis of eggheads, as no one

else is likely to concern themselves
with our welfare, here’s to you,
who taught me we were all born sinless

but weird, here’s mud in your eye, here’s
to your health, your luck, to life, bottoms up,
remain in light.

 

~  ~  ~

John Paul DavisJohn Paul Davis is a poet, musician, designer and web developer living in Brooklyn. HIs poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies including Word Riot, RATTLE, Columbia Poetry Review, The Journal, and MUZZLE. You can find out more about him at http://www.johnpauldavis.org