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A Present Absence


As if braille,

I cannot be traced

Without a quick

Flutter of fingers

Across the page.

Even as I hide

Within words,

My handwriting,

Like kudzu, disguises

My intent.

I don metaphor

And stand still

To cloak certainty

In comfortable 

Deniability.

My whispers are

My camouflage—

Hints and misdirection

Like bells nearby 

In the dark.

(December 3, 2018)

eye of the storm

eye-of-the-storm

in this vacuous world the air is pulled

from these lungs like a scream on a string

a whirlygig’s motion without purpose

other than to click and clack in the wind

 

as winter branches break against branches

with a self-flagellating destruction

my words flail against themselves in anger

searching for a simplicity not there

 

I’ve desired to speak since I was a child

but have been hesitant to raise my voice

above the churning storm outside the door

 

the constant turmoil conspires to control

like a hand at my throat each syllable

until all I could say is ground to dust

 

(September 26, 2018)

Birdsong

multi_mockingbird

 

“All life is a foreign country”

–Jack Kerouac

 

All my life my tongue

could not curl about

the words spoken here—

my teeth cut my cheek

as I stumbled over

simple words, simple ideas.

I was silenced in simple

misunderstandings, in fear

of the wrong word spoken

too loudly, too softly,

or not at all.

I wish I were

a mockingbird able

to flit between the leaves

singing the song of others;

to speak earnestly around

the mundane bits of life

we share, like now, or mimic

an old man’s nod of greeting,

or children’s laughter outside

this window; or to simply cross

over the border to a home.

 

(September 1, 2018)

sculpture

Stone-carving-gwlalior-960x598

 

“chiseller of inaccuracies”

–Fernando Pessoa

 

I would not speak

if I knew what to say.

There would be no need

to form words around

an unrealized dream.

It is the unsaid

which must be given

shape; which calls us

from its shapeless dark

to speak into existence

what we cannot know.

Yet, I know so little

about so much, I must

speak about it all.

I start where I am

which is always here.

First, I must listen,

discern the shapes

before I can speak.

My words carve out

what is there

from what is not

as the silence unfolds

a new kind of truth.

 

(August 23, 2018)