David Howerton, –and hands slapping harmony–

Rosemary Bailey, Pencil 5


–and hands slapping harmony–

Sacred ground, tinted red
gray pines and scrub oaks fill canopy
turkey vultures circle over road.

Wind blows through branches,
ancient songs, that even insects have forgot.

But dark seas crashing on stone beaches
under a huge moon
they were there when those songs
were first sung.

Even then someone sat
on a gray rock keeping harmony
with hands slapping.

David Howerton


Review by Massimo Fantuzzi

Hands slapping: a medium that reconnects us with a deeper knowledge and a truer adaptation; a way to re-access a much larger sphere of consciousness gone and forgotten; an open channel with the old celebrations, the old songs and beliefs, the microwaves barely traceable in the present world. Hands slapping has remained unchanged, and it is a language that works both phylogenetically and ontogenetically like a childlike/prehistoric messaging platform.

Hands slapping: to stay in touch, express joy, alert, model, create and break an incantation, keep alive, instruct, mesmerize and come out of hypnosis.

Hands slapping, a possible cure for this endemic loss of long-term memory and the shortening attention span of modern-day scrolling.

Undoubtedly, we’ve been feeling a bit lonely recently (when not stuck in our bubble); furthermore, the outside noise hasn’t made us feel in harmony with our surroundings or with ourselves: try “hands slapping harmony.”


Review by Jared Pearce

I like how this poem reaches back to what was so long known it’s lost, and yet it also hearkens to what is elemental, primal, and possibly essential to human life.  So while the song itself might be a little difficult to pull back, the desire to do so and the participation, the joy, the community that the song resurrects as indicated by the clapping becomes what is not just essential in the song, but in human life.

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