Apotheosis of Sonny Clark

First, tar’s vinegar warmth, euphoria & nodding off.
Followed by Automat cheeseburgers and vanilla milkshake.

The only black kid in the school picture,
Faraway swim look in the thread of his eye.

Japanese love Cool Struttin’—
White legs, black A-line, Fifth Avenue.

As demons douse metallic nodules
A stylus pins Cole Porter in a Pullman quarter.

What seems like a right hand with blue tabulae
Is actually Sonny Clark waking up from his vomit

When he sees what he’s leaving behind
Only the right chord is perfect labor

Everything with Sonny Clark is weakness.
He’s a city and a forest infolded quill

Tranquilized with black lung and tar black,
The most aristocratic color of all.

About the Poet:

Sean Singer’s first book Discography won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, selected by W.S. Merwin, and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. He has also published two chapbooks, Passport and Keep Right On Playing Through the Mirror Over the Water, both with Beard of Bees Press and is the recipient of a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

His work has recently appeared in Memorious, Pleiades, Souwester, Iowa Review, New England Review, and Salmagundi. He has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Rutgers-Newark. He lives in Harlem, New York City.