Saturday, August 28, 2010

96. The Words of the Cave


echo of thought
in the form of voice

the cave is generation
as it is that we sit there

the dark broken by
artificial light and sunlight

the cold of the water
the cold of the air

what we watch in the cave
is the sound of words

how each returns
to where each came from

the human body that produces
and accepts the reverberations of voice


the first voice came in
slowly on a kayak and lighting itself

her husband calling
to her from the shore

the second voice spoke against the sound
of music made on metal grates

sometimes his voice risen into loudness
as high as the flat ceiling of the cave

in a whisper

the third asked three of us
to lie on the stage and breathe

to lie on the stage prone or supine
and say one word slowly

as slowly as possible until the words
were a flowing of sound without end

he asked us to say the words quickly
until they were shudderings of voices

the fourth sang a song
with a raspy violin

and his foot’s percussion
against the wooden stage


the fifth read quietly
so the cave barely heard her

enough to repeat her tell us
“how words fall apart”

the sixth read in the rhythm
of the beat “lost in the

of a shoe”

the seventh showed us the words
on a screen of dots a tiny marquee

and drummed the voice of a sound
back into us

the eighth began with a song
of sounds without voice

without the vibrating sound
of her voice and the microphone

filled it up into
the hollow of the cave

the ninth told us what
the pluckings and chords of

the music signified before
they echoed into and out of place

too many of them and too quickly
for the cave to hold them still


the tenth was silent but
let us listen to the music playing

as he played the role
of a dying moth

the eleventh was too hard for me
to hear from where I’d moved to

at the back of the cave but
I heard the regular cadence

of her voice which I heard as
a kind of breathing in and out of words

I was the twelfth in a dozen voices
some silent and I began far away

and invisible to the others to you
waiting in the cave for my voice

I threw rocks into the water
yelling out at the throwing

before I began to sing so the cave
would be too full to hold the words

walking along but within the edge
of the water I sang and climbing

up one of the thick rock pillars
that held up the earth I walked

in the water singing and swam
through the cold water singing

then diving into it
to pull myself through

the water I climbed
onto the high stage

jumped to the lower
stage and found

my words on paper lying
there and read them

out pacing the stage
caged by its limits

by the beating of and
the breathing of my chest

and I sang again and
spoke not in words

but in the sound of
words before I jumped

off the stage onto the rock floor
of that giant hollow of sound and ran

up a steep slope of mud
and turned around to see

all of you small below me
and looking up

as I yelled down to you in the same
voice with the same wordless words

and I told you all to come up out of the cave
into the warmth of lingering summer

and I ran


but you saw all of this
you heard it you were

there listening and watching
and making sure every word

could exist and every movement
could be and that the motions

of the poets were real
because you were there

to accept

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