Joey Finkl calls himself the last anarchist in town.
He’s been here over fifty years, making fiddles,
right here (except the wars) six days each week,
sometimes seven. “I don’t go with religion.
I work when I like. That’s most of the time,
because, you see, I love to make them,
my babies, hmmm.” He reaches among
the shavings and tools and dried out glue pots
and oil rags for a block of wood on which
is drawn the fine curved outline of a violin.
He holds the block up to his ear, knocks
with a knuckle whose backlit white hairs
make lines of light. He says, “Listen to that.
With care it will sing. You can hear it. Listen.”
He says, “Most people don’t take care,
and you know why? Because they don’t care.
Look at it for yourself: Apartheid, the rich
robbing the poor, the poor, they rob each other.
Sure, some people fight for them, and a few
of the poor fight too, but that’s not enough,
all of the people must care enough
to stand up for themselves. I fought in Spain,
and against Hitler, in Africa.
Then I got tired of fighting.
It has no heart. Music is better.
and humming, bows the air left-handed. He says:
“We can live without money, without nations,”
and he spits into the shavings, “without rabbis and priests...”
he moves his hand to pat his heart
and the block falls to the dust and he ignores it,
touching his breast: “But without this heart
we are nothing, and less than nothing.”
Michael Cope (1952 - )