for Tim Buckley
the street we walk as beggars
In the alley faithless kings.
Scat singing for the sleep deprived
it's what the critics called his
final music, his ship that plowed
some great uncharted dissonance
as if that's where he was headed
all along, to the restless distance
between an ear and its pillow,
between the wind guard of the mike
and insomnia that whispered low
one moment, then rose, cried out
even, leaping five plus octaves,
he would say, though in truth about
two octaves lessstill a journey
heavenward and back, a space that grew
wings on his feet, his voice. Joy
became the thread of mercury
in the mouth of a fevered man.
A lie then, the mythical cure
that aged him as he walked bent
high inside the city of angels,
a drop of midnight in his blood.
How he hated the confinement
of old tunes, of the small beach town
that was his bliss. These things he made,
they shadowed him inside the hidden
bungalow he painted black,
the morning nocturne of its curtains.
If no mythology would take him,
there would always be the starless
mandate of the unwritten hymn.
To sail off the edge of the world,
off the end of a spool of tape
where it fluttered on its needle
tick, tick, tick. Picture a moon
deaf above the sirens of dogs.
It's here where the lost songs begin,
on the brink of a sleep that fears
no less, that closes its eyes to sing,
Here it comes, at lastno, here. Here.
Copyright © 2008 Bruce
All rights reserved. Used with permission
Bruce Bond is a writer and poet, as well as a faculty member
of the University of North Texas.
Elegy for Tim Buckley was first published in The
It later appeared in his book Peal (Etruscan
have been a huge fan of Tim Buckley since my teen years when
'Goodbye and Hello' came out. I went to a lot of sources and
immersed myself in the music for months before writing this
poem, deriving a lot of information and inspiration from Lee