Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


by Alan Britt

It’s like cobalt crabs
waving in all directions,
hailing cabs
or attending
Texas barbeques.

Political coals easily stirred
turn deep red.

But these molecule claws
stretch right through the smoke
of ancestors.

Their thin saxophone arms
in satin tuxedos
waltz beneath rivers
on religious holidays.

So, eventually, these saxophones
might again wander nude
through the forests of the night?

Ah, tonight, these arms are naïve,
much like the arms of Neruda’s mermaid
entering a coral tavern,
engaging the company of terrified men,
innocence wide open,
eyes like opals
swinging from Mary Magdalene’s cinnamon lobes.

You can’t imagine the social turmoil
caused by the mermaid’s arms opened so wide!

Reckless arms like these
create wars,
world wars,
wars worthy of trading cards,
wars important enough to be showcased
on Ripley’s Believe It or Not,
desperate wars like locusts
during the Dust Bowl years,
wars like aphids stalking the underbelly
of our DNA.

These innocent arms sometimes cause massive back-ups
on the Tappan Zee Bridge;
they turn Mazdas into snails
I-95 South into Baltimore
and cripple I-70 into Dayton.

Yet, somehow, these arms inconsolable, today,
wandering the fog
of my precious sleep at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Since, by 6 PM, after sedatives and coffee,
I’ll already have squandered the perfect world
I’d hoped to find balanced on a single strand of faith
stretched high above my Barnum and Bailey life.

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