In Texas, I am more aware of my silence. Some days I speak to nothing but the cat, move my voice around little spaces of song. Because I am learning French, learning to read French more than learning to speak, my old audition standard "Chanson" (from The Baker's Wife), is on a loop through my head. It begins,
Chaque jour est un jour,
comme les autres doux jour -
le potage, l'ouvrage,
le soleil, il voyage
le monde fait un tour,
ansi c'est tourjours le meme...
Mostly I speak on the phone those far away, California or Pennsylvania, Massachusetts or New York or Wisconsin. It's not bad. There's a flurry of writing, flurry of sound.
Two poems from my odd collection of angels. One from Jim Daniels' Places/Everyone , and one from Nick Flynn's Some Ether. Both of these poems contain a type of silence, a type of refusal. It has to do with what we can stand, what we can't turn away from, what we must watch, what we must allow, what we allowed - thinking it wouldn't, couldn't last - within us taking root. What was torn into us, & changed sight... the writing I love best - it's always desire, wound, scar or balm.. or something in between..
March 17, 1972
by Jim Daniels
I stood for a long time
watching lights smear the wet street.
My feet planted themselves in mud.
Police radios squawked against each other.
The pint in one pocket
tugged down my jacket.
I felt its weight
cold in my hands.
Ambulances took away two injured,
one dead. Friends. Five men pushed
the crushed car back on its wheels.
A wrecker hauled it away
Show's over, boy, a cop said.
I yanked my feet out and turned
away. I can tell you this
years later. You've probably
on Alvina, the sharp curve
by the Dairy Queen, the stump
next to the ditch.
An older brother's i.d.
Someone's father's car.
Maybe you walked home
a different way. Maybe
you didn't stop to sit
on a swing behind the grade school.
Maybe the rain stopped
on your night.
Me, I banged myself
against a cyclone fence.
I finished my bottle
and fingered old stitches.
I wouldn't be smart again
by Nick Flynn
I want to erase your footprints
from my walls. Each pillow
is thick with your reasons. Omens
fill the sidewalk below my window: a woman
in a party hat, clinging
to a tin-foil balloon. Shadows
creep slowly across the tar, someone yells, "Stop!"
and I close my eyes. I can't watch
as this town slowly empties, leaving me
strung between bon-voyages, like so many clothes
on a line, the white handkerchief
stuck in my throat. You know the way Jesus
rips open his shirt
to show us his heart, all flaming and thorny,
the way he points to it. I'm afraid
the way I'll miss you will be this obvious.
I have a friend who everyone warns me
is dangerous, he hides
bloody images of Jesus
around my house, for me to find
when I come home; Jesus
behind the cupboard door, Jesus tucked
into the mirror. He wants to save me
but we disagree from what. My version of hell
is someone ripping open his shirt
and saying, Look what I did for you. . .