Buffalo Twang

Original Text: 
Gary Barwin, Outside the Hat (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1998): 57-58.
1lost everything but my zither
2lost everything but my zither
3twang it goes
4sproing when a string breaks
5i've only six strings left
6sproing each one went of the original thirty-two
7until only six were left
8only these six were left
9twang they go and i imagine
10they are buffalo colliding on the plain
11six buffalo lying on their sides, unconscious
12O what music
13O what music the buffalo make
14when they are unconscious
15twang go the buffalo
16and the big moon comes out of the sky
17like clumsy fingers
18and sometimes i sing as the buffalo collide
19yes there's the moon and i'm singing
20twang those two hit head-first
21twang and one of them is hit broadside
22twang i sing in a small voice as the dusty plain rumbles
23get a guitar get a guitar
24small little subcompact cars will drive o'er the plain
25and the buffalo
26the buffalo will scatter like tectonic plates
27later by the fire, we're surrounded by cars
28yes a ring of cars runs round us
29as we sit by the fire
30you teach me to yodel
31we drink cups of coffee
32and the buffalo
34what could they be thinking
35standing 'neath the stars
36perhaps they're imagining the twang of impact
37getting in what thoughts they can--before
38they go blank
39but the buffalo have never seen me
40though i've often watched them
41lying on their wide sides
42in the short grass of the plain
43i walk around listening
44look into their empty brown eyes
45O buffalo, buffalo
46what joy you bring
47when you make that sound
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright © Gary Barwin and used by permission of the poet. Authorization to republish this poem must be obtained from him in writing.