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.

A small request (27 October)

What’s broken that cannot be fixed?
What hollow existence for words that
Cannot, will not be shared
But are squirreled away?

Because though our words start off as us
Newborn onto the page our
Helpless creation yet to feel
Life’s scars and pangs,
Scattering thoughts awaiting
Clean attire still retain
Traces of us.

We lose them to others
But not ourselves:

Our words gain strength,
Meaning, power, vitality
Life itself
From being read:
Our writing suffocates,
Must breathe
Through you, through them and

Speak its existence.

Under Siege (April 18)

My humble opinion is being
profoundly threatened by the right to say,
in fact, that it is not settled because
free speech is under siege from
moralists and false believers
opposing what they espouse while spouting
medieval views and a constant
torrent of denials on a stream of
hot air.

And Voltaire would remind us that this
is the best of all possible worlds
where white men will have their
words defended to the death.

April 2

Nothing quite matches the sensation
Of writing poetry under pressure.

Prose is built for test conditions:
Solid, enduring and reliable.
It fills lines like buckets,
Each sentence another
Drop or glass of thought.

But verse – ah!
Taken in small doses
To give relief from life’s vicissitudes,
Pangs and worries:
An amuse bouche for the mind.

Or rough and ready, raging against tyranny and the world’s wrongs.
Who says the poetic needs to be delicate?
That it cannot rail and roar mightily?
(At least it has no word count.)