Litany in the Locrian Mode
By: Daniel Jenkins
The arthritic dog sleeping upside down, paws dream-wincing—
Black-caked ashtrays and cigarette smoke—
The back deck. The yellow mosquito bulb—
Band march cloud scuffle, breaking gray clay sky—
Budding trees, no ballad, no mezzo-soprano—
Gregorian chant, or any chant for that matter—
Bottom shelf brandy and pink wine—
Naked plywood subfloor, bare feet—
Our silent sidling down the hallway, two in the morning—
That bed. That small, rickety bed—
Daniel Jenkins is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. His poetry has appeared in The Magnitizdat Literary, Lost River Literary Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Cold Mountain Review. His poems featured in Tupelo Press's 30/30 Project fundraiser for August 2018. Daniel lives in Northern Virginia and teaches writing at Northern Virginia Community College.
“I began this poem in March 2017. One afternoon, I noticed the ‘absence’ of the presence of passion so pervasive four years before, something like an ode mixed with a saudade. I stripped away the grammar, and after nearly a dozen revisions, this poem became a list of details associated with the presence of that highly-charged and highly-sexual memory. Though the poem doesn't appear dissonant, I am a guitarist, and the Locrian mode is the last mode in the standard scale, a mode reaching for resolution, tension so immense it never quite resolves. I could say more about this poem, but I think my introduction to the poem during my MFA graduate reading fits the best: ‘This one's weird.’"