Friday, June 11, 2010

18. What I Could Say in Chinese is “Sure”

The night is rising even
as you sleep, and soon it will match
the dream you are trying to shake
as the dream moves darker and the night
lightens a shade, if you have one
to block the coming morning,
or is the window open and do the sounds
push in, asking for space in
your consciousness?

We think in the language of the shape
of words, how they feel in the mouth or
fit in the ear, some like the hard edge of
a throat lozenge and we feel the pain the word
makes, some like a cotton ball and it fits in
so soft and well that we do not hear
a thing, the word enchanting us
out of words.

Or words are a maze
of twists and swirls of letters that
your letter to me was made out of, and we
can see how sense can twist the
meaning out of itself, just as
we might ask a question about
the tone of your voice and you
could remark you had only four
in the face of that language
(if that were, in case, the case).

Could you think a message to me
in Chinese without using that language
and leave me with the sense
of the language your message
came from? Could you rise like a sun
out of the mist and play a song
on an instrument of the body, maybe
a tongue, and communicate
the world that you smell every day? the ever-
shrinking world that you taste
on your talking tongue? Do you await
letters every day in a language you were
taught before you knew there were
languages? Do you feel the distance
between mother and horse?

I am made of words
and cannot think without them,
I cannot think outside of
them, if the world insists it is
not a word I can tell how it is a word
that I can speak, that I can write,
that I can see upon the table
in front of me, a table now piled
with what I do with words, with
scribbles of them, typings of them,
drawings made of or into words, books
of them, pamphlets of them, letters
of them and those out of letters themselves,
scribbles on a page in a sense that they are
reminders of them, those that are
pointers to some fact in the known universe,
the one I know, a small world covered
in shapes, dripping with sounds, gravid
with meaning, and moving,
slowly, over oceans,
to you

to tell you this
thin thing I thought
on this night that doesn’t match
the day you must be living
now.

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