Friday, December 14, 2018

LITERARY INFLUENCE

I've just got to say, I'm really sorry
to have suddenly interrupted
whatever decent little aura

of silence had been haunting you
prior to picking this thing up
and singing it this far

with that puffy cantor
who lives in your head. I know
how earnestly you'd been tracking

the simple dark swinging pendulum
of your breathing, or inviting the illicit
swivel of candle flame to illuminate an old

newspaper, or just staring straight ahead,
parsing the mercifully uncomplicated
texture of burgundy

paint on the drywall
of the room you were standing in
when you first heard the news.

If it's any consolation—
I promise to return you
to a more burnished quiet,

to a reverie even more hopeful
and pregnant and profound,
to an even deeper silence

than the silence whose fierce
gaze had refused to quit
pleading with you before.

It turns out, this is a special feature
of even the least imaginative poetry:
all you have to do

is read this last sentence, then
cut the music
and don't move a muscle

while all the forces of white space on earth
suddenly rush in to surround
and shoot down the final period,

and listen for that faint ache
of a recoil—it won't sound like much,
so you've really got to listen.

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