[It tears out like fire through a field]
For Tony Durazzo, patron saint of Frankies
It tears out like fire through a field.
His shiny-eyed grin a strain
from the push and pull within
him to hunch and pump and kick
out the beat as he sings and growls
and belts, he, the maker and breaker
of time, patron saint of drums, Levon
Helm. Behind Robbie and Rick and Richard
and Garth, his voice stretches out
warm and ragged as an old flag caught
in the wind. He's probably running on
whiskey, weed, and LSD, ambrosia
of the sixties titans, although he'd deny
he's divine, deny he could even sing
and play the drums at the same time.
Delta man of the land, American heart
of The Band, sonic maestro, lover
of Sandy, of sushi, voice rich and raw
as the Arkansas soil he came from.
Stage lights wash his profile in yellow,
the hair on his head flaming, the fuzz
of his face blazing low. Even
his cheekbones, nose, jaw, chin
percuss out of his face with the same
timely grace of the drumbeat.
His entire being, drenched with sweat,
spry and featherlight, resonating—
amber-coated and gravel-throated.
He slinks and pops and rips up the air,
digs holes and fills them just as fast,
drops a field of sound tilled fresh
for the rest of the boys to sow.