Wednesday, June 23, 2010

30. Lines upon Lines

Lines contain and
control and direct

us, telephone wire
suspended, sagging,

boundaries marked
between each square

of a sidewalk, the
streets themselves,

parallels abound
where lines exist,

we find connection
the likeness between

two people, simple
correlations of selves,

you say you lack the poetry
gene (a gene, I wonder,

for words? what would
keep something

that essential from us?),
the words that hit you

are dead or meaningless,
the hum of context,

the drone of content,
the lack of structure

leaving you grasping
for some sense of words,

or maybe just pushing
them away, but there is

a music in any words
even those laid out so

rigidly in lines as
these or those that

try for only the
quietest melodies,

really I became
an archivist because

I was a poet, both
search for then create

order, both fail, leaving
that gap between desire

and conquest that
marks the best

we humans make, you
might not see the

structure here, the
carapace of sound

that holds these few
tiny words together,

the outline of a thought
that grows organically,

the ends of a branch
ramify and ramify

again, dividing them-
selves into increasingly

smaller halves until
the tree is a pattern

of fingers, of hands,
a living reaching and

reaching out, all of us
living parallel lives

of our own, an archivist
and a poet, a person

of work and a person
at play, words used

to give direction and
words created to

provide some glimpse
at an invisible world,

the world at our feet,
the street we walk down

one side of not recognizing
that person on the other

walking towards us
and then walking away,

these patterns calm us,
so we find them in our

thinking, in our cities,
in the records we protect,

and even those records
may be unredeemable into

any order again, but
we see it, just as you

see this poem that is
actually words for me

to say, for you to hear,
clusters of sounds, moving

outward but also toward,
as we move away

only to move toward
something else, they

I know Atlanta is hot
and muggy in summer,

worse than the intense dry
heat of Phonenix, a mythical

city that burns to
the ground each day,

but you’ll grow used to the
humidity, it is human

sweat and breath, the
heat of our bodies, some-

thing we share, and it is
what brings us together.

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