Medicine Show (4): A Spell to Ward Off Banjos

Fill a soup spoon with salt
& lower it into the Atlantic
singing: Dance, sailor,
dance with your captain,
your head’s too heavy,
your body’s too thin.
When the salt is gone
say in a loud voice
Are you thirsty now?
& wait for a gull to say Yes.
Walk backwards so
the incoming tide can’t follow
your footsteps home.

Repeat daily.
If banjos persist,
see a licensed hoodoo man.

Series Navigation← Banjo Origins (2): The Fifth StringThe Silent Banjo →
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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

10 Comments


  1. This is GREAT!!! I’ve been reciting it to get it properly memorised and in my head. But I can still hear the banjo music. I think it’s coming to get me!

    Reply

    1. Wow, I’m glad you’re so enthusiastic about it! I was just writing it to amuse myself — not sure it would be anyone else’s cup of tea.

      Reply

  2. Oo, man, this better work, because if it doesn’t those banjos are going to be pissed!

    Reply

    1. Just don’t get caught in a Dueling Banjos crossfire and you’ll probably be all right.

      Reply

  3. sigh…. it’s so hard to make friends

    Reply

    1. You’re a good man, Charlie Brown. Everyone likes you and your cigar-box banjo, really!

      Reply

  4. This is fun; I like it. I love the idea of licensed magicians. Of course, now that I think of it I wonder if they do need licenses to perform in some states.

    Reply

    1. Well, I have run across some official-sounding accreditation boards for readers, rootworkers and the like.

      Reply

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