(on the edges of conversation)

From across the room, we lurk
a hunter scanning the field from the forest’s edge,
half-heard among conversation:  a phrase,
a word inserted with a sneer or laugh.
We move touching a hem,
a hand gracing a sleeve, brushing
a wisp of hair at the base of her neck.
Like the lead of a fine dancer,
direction rarely detected, we mutter
mumble, whisper, repeat our cultured
and polished phrases, pearls embedded
in the ears of swine, as it were – –
Clichés collect like silt shifting the river
from its course, a change of subject
a topic on the edge of dialog, an ideal
clotted.  Communal nods of understanding
self-righteous and self-deceiving
suffocate dissent in a miasma of acquiescence.
Who is that speaking from the shadows?
Who is that laughing in the dark?
No need to fear the angels dancing on the periphery.
No need to listen – – the words slip out,
tentacles probing night’s water for food:
a dream, a thought willing to be used.
We will not be found.
Our voice is not in the garbled sounds.
What drives the Gulf Stream?
What breeze blows here?
Currents in the stratosphere
bring the storm to shore,
an Iago dropping bon mots
like grapes in the mouths of kings.
These are not secrets.
The obvious has no need to hide.
It’s there like air.
Listen for the sudden intake of breath.
We are here whispering along the edge.

(August 2001-April 2003, from primogenitive folly)

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