Nicolas Hampton is the twenty-six-year-old Michigan State University dropout who wouldn’t stop showing up to Diane Wakoski’s office hours. Born and raised in Kalamazoo, MI, he currently resides in Chicago, IL. He’s passed out a couple books and helped a zine or two. His poems can be found on the online postings of Haggard & Halloo and the forthcoming 21st issue of Short, Fast & Deadly. Nicolas is currently spending his time doing things his mother should have said would end up this way, but was smart enough to let the boy figure it out.
For the album of the same title by Neil Young
Waterface, I can hear a stage of round black.
The steel pedal is agonizing, stretching
the strings like a man’s pain
across the rack.
I am standing, but not in the back
where all the columns turn to
arches, where the hairs erect
a hallow feline chorus
replaying the past
rising from inland islands
of tweeters, trebles and subs.
I can see The Country’s ready,
bathed in cinnamon
and the shade of Forget Me Nots, slouching
over a red-eyed electric
devil dressed in mourning white.
Can I recognize the sugar cane
of a borrowed tune
as the taste of a neighbor
not my own?
The key of a good swing ain’t the tone,
but the return to a rhythm
just less of perfect, just enough
space to kick the blood, plunge
the foot, bury the ground.
I can feel the ground remembering
who lives within it,
trembling with the length
of a gnat’s fluttering wing,
taking in dull drums to the hilt,
deafening the land. I can’t feel you
Neil, only the grief you return
in nickel strings to a young granite lip.