Kim Addonizio

Cigar Box Banjo
March 9, 2014 Addonizio Kim

Cigar Box Banjo


Blind Willie Johnson could coax

music from a single string.  God plucked a rib

and found a woman.  Concert aria

in the gypsy song, long groan

of orgasm in the first kiss, plastic bag

of heroin ripening in the poppy fields.

Right now, in a deep pocket of a politician’s brain,

a bad idea is traveling along an axon

to make sure the future resembles a cobra

rather than an ocarina.

Still there’s hope in every cartoon bib

above which a tiny unfinished skull in

its beneficence dispenses a drooling grin.

The heart may be a trashy organ,

but when it plucks its shiny banjo

I see blue wings in the rain.

Kim Addonizio’s most recent books of poetry are Lucifer at the Starlite (W. W. Norton, 2009) and the just-reissued Jimmy & Rita (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2012). Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within was released by Norton in 2oo9. With Dorianne Laux, Addonizio co-authored The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (1997). Among her awards and honors are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Commonwealth Club Poetry Medal. Addonizio teaches privately in Oakland, and online at