The Sacred Harp, Beggars

Matthew Rohrer

The Sacred Harp

In among the tossed out clothes
and furniture the Sacred Harp--
the workmen raised it up
a jet passed overhead white
and perfect as a tooth

Later people claimed a sound
rang out from it string-less
and it was sacred after all
no one was quite sure
what its next move was 

Of course this only happens
in Paris they cried out
for it is quite magical here
there can be cloudy days
where it’s still sunny



On Father’s Day the father
is wearing sandals and shorts
a vest of many pockets
and a strange straw hat
that has a raised crest

apparently a helmet of straw
and his family is inside
a wholesale jewelry store everything
else is closed the city
is ancient and dirty

I have sympathy for him
he does not belong here
he’s thinking, but the truth
is no one belongs anywhere
they are just passing through


Earlier I said no one
belongs anywhere they are just
passing through and I hope
it was clear what I meant there
and how subtle
the point was but now
I just want to sit
here and look up where
English language films are shown
but the wifi
is trying to steal my identity
I’ll have to use
one of the maps I have
in my memory a sort
of 3D map of experience


I recently described memory
as a 3D map of experience
which I hope was clear
refers to a mental state
where a feeling of Map
overcomes someone when they walk
down the right street
but maybe the point wasn’t clear
a beggar just said
“Je perdu mon pantalon” pointedly

And I think saying Beggar
isn’t right it reduces them
to one action
here’s an Algerian beggar
in a Steelers jersey he’s more complicated still