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Friday, December 02, 2016


by Albert Haley

"History is happening in Manhattan: Hamilton has set a record for the most money ever made in a single week by a Broadway show."—The New York Times, November 28, 2016. 

That autumn a silver-haired man came
to see what was so highly rated.
The dancing, rapping, the black and brown
bodies bodiced and laced to build
a country from the pink soles up.

It wasn’t the livestock show
at the Indiana State Fair
or Peyton winning Super Bowl XLI
for the Colts stolen from Baltimore.

It wasn’t the cars going around
and around the Brickyard, spewing
fumes on Memorial Day.

It wasn’t even poor James Dean lying
beneath a marble slab in Fairmount
in the shadow of his uncle’s pig farm.

And it sure wasn’t talk radio,
Sunday pass the collection plate
church, or after home-school
milk and cookies. Not a goddamn
Oreo in sight.

Of course, the silver-haired man
knew this, only wanted credit
for trying to love the Founding Fathers
before being Secret Serviced out.
Dust rising, dust settling.

What did they think would happen?
It’s theatre. The show goes on.

The hills still alive with the sound
of that new music, the bold story
that must be sung.

A time-told tale that unleashes
rhyming tongues, night
after night, with men and women
who dance joyfully, freely on the graves
of any who might wish to enslave.

Albert Haley is a past winner of the Rattle Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in the Texas Review, Poems & Plays, and other journals. He lives in Abilene, Texas, which is as odd of a place as it sounds.