Listen to Podcast Interview with Grace Cavalieri on The Poet and the Poem

Two Texas Folk Films


The breeze blows Tracy's hair and her summer dress, painted with lyrics.
She dances with it. Her skin shows no bruises. Her voice thins, thickens.
Her partner in all things has been knocked off the earth, and she will go
on living. Watching the video, after months away from music, I remem-
ber what I loved about performance, from the front row. Every molecule
so visibly troubled, as God's hand troubles the waters. Pain to paint:
every drop of blood a shade of red or brown.


How I was a tumbleweed with a map. How I landed in Texas for a
conference, then played hooky after nightfall, took a drive on the flat
cheek of unknown Texas to some other part of the state down roads
named for creeks and farm machines. How, after dark, the dry dirt
glowed as if waiting for Neil Armstrong to plant his rigid ever-flying flag:
lit by headlights, lit by occasional peeks of moon, lit then, at my destina-
tion, by trees strung with white Christmas by the yard. How I carried a
Colorado beer into a shiny drunk crowd. How my purpose, my favorite
trio, appeared and turned the sky around and disappeared as the
audience disappeared into the shadows of shacks and kiosks. How I
spoke to Simon in the sound booth, in the electric boneyard, only a buzz
clinging to cottonwoods. How much a handclasp means in such strange-
ness. How I returned to the rent-a-car in the makeshift parking lot, to the
car-lit dust, to the sleepers. How I stayed too long at the fair.

From The Unbeckonable Bird
First published in Gargoyle