This Other Voice

Has been burning away for months, or weeks and it refuses
to speak in neat lines, to dress itself in some cloak of mystery.
At least completely. It’s not dishonest, even now
to admit that I would retreat behind the covers, away
from plain prose truth. I can’t help this flight,
the way it tangles up and caps what promises bright simplicity.
But running from this other voice feels too much
like admitting futility, like knowing that these words
will always speak double because I need them to.
Because I refuse to hold the strings in place so you can
see the fingering as one tune begins, to hold them down
in place while the performance turns over.
(Because I want them to.)
If you cannot see the presence of hands, perhaps you will
forget the presence of hands, their pressing and producing.
Even as I try to bring this to a close, to escape this yearning
to not speak, I remember that here even this is a song,
that a stage, there the daggers poised, pretending.

Years in the Making

His two hands
hammer and tongs vibrate
aching to translate into sound
scatter-gun recollections
of sixty years or more

the pavement steaming outside
an apartment glowing before dusk
one forlorn June day, the waves
rising with a sweet crescendo
dangling hands:
bliss at dawn on the mountaintop
abandonment
two lovers parting
(or just a breath?)

leaning in he carries
with a swift arpeggio
a moment or a decade
only he can tell

transfixed within this musical grammar
we edge closer to these key-lit stories
to step into his hands
where comfort rests
in life’s brittle arrangement.

(9 April 2015)

Rehearsal (19 October)

Linger on sidewalks whose
shadowed walls
day-drawn blinds
conceal mechanical monsters
their false starts and stops
leach out
tick-tock whirring of the
slow, twisting, turning,
winding of gears stretching
hidden strings

now so tightly aligned,
deposited polished and gleaming
in the upright position
we imagine arms
poised Mummy-like
when the owner removes
their grip to let this
perfect contraption
recall its
tortured sequence

    again.

Meditation on two sculptures (21 May)

This is written more with slam poetry in mind, or at least the rhythm and roll that comes from being read aloud with pace and passion

I never folded them with my own hands.
I never took the time and care to calmly add the fine creases,
or bend edges skywards, twist and raise each corner
into the carefully finished form upon my shelf.
And yes, I’ll admit that my first reaction when I came across those two abandoned trophies
after your quick departure –
symbols of our wasted hour together –
my first reaction involved the formation of a small smile
before it turned inwards
into something closer to the needless balling up of paper.

Most days I crane my head and see them,
aging reminders of one moment and so many moments
when you or they or them or all of you
retreat and make your disappearance known in one of a dozen conjuring tricks
where you ignore this crowded hour, forget the lines and perform
only for yourself
your first trick a dozen spirals
blossoming in that empty wasteland.

There is no other trick.
No one applauds.
Should they?

And all I want to do
is to show you, and them, and all of us
that you can unfold your mind and see that blank space
is unlimited opportunity that can be refolded and enfolded
in infinite dimensions until you have so much more than
this single token.

Because you do not want to visit the edges of this territory,
do not see that this leg of the journey is in fact part of a bigger map,
unencumbered by the limits of the now.
Tomorrow is here today, but maybe I am not the guide
to show you, to take you there or you are yet to find that guide.

It need not be me.
You won’t believe it.
You may refuse.
Go ahead.

But are you searching?

But if for a moment all of those temptations and distractions
the blue lights and grey noise
with their remarkable hum
would disappear
and your evaporating vapor trails of thought
would condense
there might be something more
than this.

Because now all I do is look up and question,
look up and wonder whether I am the only one looking up.
And if I tell you all of this, not just that you have added
another crease, another fold to me
but that you have this, all of this –
this life, this moment, this opportunity, this chance –
would you still remain blind?

Or maybe I’m the one who doesn’t see?