Thursday, November 29, 2012

engage

I know the words, though the moment's still uncertain. I read them again, though I only just let them go. The books on the shelf must know the feeling. Someone finds something, or someone finds nothing. Say the word and somebody will say it again. Recitation as if it is an answer. The repetition it takes to know you're lost. You miss the magic of these incantations, or you thieve the meaning from scraps and shards. You know how the words ring hollow. I can't even answer any questions of my own.

Spoken aloud, the poem escapes me. Spoken aloud, the spell is cast. Beggar's rags and gnawed on bones. Sounds that savor the flavor on your tongue. Sounds that ring out over rooftops and root through shabby rooms. Your breath entangled with cheap meaning, your heart savage, beating out each hope. The gleeful ignorance another unopened cupboard. The willful deception only favored in the flesh. Line by line, you look for reasons. I forget everything but the rhyme.

Gnats are resting on my sleeves. The sky is thick with threatening clouds. The rain slipped by for most of the day, a break here and there for some sunlight, a steady release until the storm relented. The sun falls in torn up sheets, the limbs of a tree, the front of a house. Traffic creeps past in ones and twos. The hour lingers in the air, cool air and chilled skin. A simple set of signifiers left on the line, word by word I waste away. The change is slow but unforgiving. The context shifts with your breathing. You mouth the meaning, then spit it out. Reading the problem as the plan, moving the reason every time you engage.

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