For Carter Monroe

An old man listens to Eddie Vedder
wonders what exactly is he trying to say
beneath the tension
beneath the power
chorded mystery
of his lyrics. He, this old man, raised
on the juice of soulful men
plied up from flophouses and poverty
up from segregated South
with voices dripping
in grandma’s Sunday molasses
giving him a beat and an angel’s voice, questions.
An old man listens to Eddie Vedder
and knows it is all about age, always has been—
some soul’s ride old,
some infinitely young
wrapped up in the violence of society.
He knows it all boils down
to degrees of passionate love
slipping quietly from his hands.