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Blood & Brine

by Joe Wilford

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You put the color of the clouds
Into perspective for me
You put the hi-beams on the lines
You showed me grace that I could not
Contemplate before you
Magic of the blood and brine

And now I paint the black abyss
Knife this canvas with a poisoned, sentimental kiss

From the shadows passages
Illuminated themselves
Maps and runes scribed marbled walls
My fingertips trace lines along the surface
Wet with weeping
A compass for the broken souls

Have you escaped these catacombs?
Where is the metaphor? The lesson? Or the path your lighted voice has shone?

A silver key hangs at my throat
It can’t unlock this mystery
Symbolize the search within
The only answers lead to questions
Among these dusty tomes
Where the fuck do we begin?

As the creative fire consumes
The artists’ thirst for inspiration suffocates within its lethal fumes

A careful balance is the cost
Between voices never heard, the songs of those we loved and those we’ve lost

Black water of the river wash me up
Upon your shores
A spell of deliverance cast me here
Carry me home

Black water of the river wash over me
Troubled and deep
I long to deliver flesh and bone
Carry me home


released December 4, 2020
Words and music: joe Wilford




Joe Wilford Iowa City

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