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Playing Banjo


Then put the banjo back in its case.
Close door against the city.

Make a rural sound. Be my key.
Close down the bar. Sing a round.

Let the fiddler be stoned in the alley,
the mandolinist pinball long hours.

Learn over and over. Still the needle,
return to the solo, parcel out headaches.

Pay for the room, measure the silence,
run the notes. Play poorly for family

in your manner. Live far away. Drift.
Love everybody. Sound best alone

in a minor key. Play it right. Turn
your head when you have forgotten

and suddenly a note pierces through
like someone far calling your name.


Ed Skoog

Run the Red Lights
Copper Canyon Press


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