Sunday, June 6, 2010

13. Rain on a Sunday

The dull plinking,
rain like a rattling of drops
after the rain, the collected
water, escaping back
to earth, falls to a metal roof,
and the birds tweeting
again, all’s well,
the ground swelling
with liquid luscious now
to surfeit.

What water comes
from the faucet we keep
in the kitchen corner is
what water we want,
starting, running, stopping
at will, ours. It is a form of blood

our body captures from
outside the body, one of the classical
elements of survival

air that we might breathe
earth that we might grow our food
fire that we might cook it
water that we might drink

We say we need
these for the body, that last
word, for the body what
thinks, what speaks, what takes
the speaking in, what writes
it down in little books
carried in a pocket
till the words are all
pencil smudges and rubbings
out from which no thought comes
but a clear numbness, release
from the pressure of meaningfulness. We
turn from the page to see

the world is bright now,
cleared of storms and rain, sunlight
bright as though coming through a glass of water
now’s the rain’s gone,
transformed, and the slightly darker
shadows beneath maples,

birdsong abbreviated,
no need for twittering, a sussuration
of the trees, swishing of automobiles
cutting through dappled shadow,
of sun and sycamore

dogs’ don’t

In the order of
the words, in order
for the words, to order
the words of a sentence,
so you can sense
the sense of it

(catnip smells like
the pee the feral
cats use to mark
their way through)

It is as if I
had a
this were
a letter
from a
ghost even
I was
not a

a guest


(I had
a handful

of them
for dinner

or would
have if

I had
not had


the time


I speak in
(I speak
within) parentheses

they have
a meaning
for me



I think)

as I read
and read
as I think, so
I cannot read
without a pencil

I am numb
without pencil

unable to tell
the numinous glow of words
from the numbness
of not writing off them
since no word is written
without a voice, no word
written except a part of another layer
of words, stratum upon strata,
the inevitable referents back
of words, to words, what leads us
towards something
forward and

(as in “a

I make sense by the sound
of things and the similar
sounds of other
things against
those first

as meaning
accumulates. It
is not unitary or
uniform, but spreads,
numerous, out from
a decentralized point,
the point being addition
and multiplication,
the many odors
of words

like the black words
from a book, wet with
meaning, they glisten
on the page, because
they are concrete and
not at all real.

I read your poems to find
what is missing from
my life, something huge,
like a thunderhead passing
silently over us at night,
leaving no rain, a castrated
menace who nevertheless
roams the streets. I call out
when I hear him, tell him
to stop, explain to him my
needs, what I need to know,
the great burden of
forgetting what I’ve done,
and these fifty years, and still
he runs away, not even
so much of a shadow of him,
nothing but footsteps receding
to silence, and I call and call
until I have lost every breath
of my so-called voice.

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