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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Voice II

The Dead                                         Jason Schneiderman

do not speak.
That is what

makes them
dead. They

have left us
words, notes,

letters, but
you can only

read them
in your voice,

from your
place in this

world. You
may try

to speak for
the dead, but

listen. That’s
your voice.


On Angels                             Czeslaw Milosz

All was taken away from you: white dresses,
wings, even existence.
Yet I believe you,

There, where the world is turned inside out,
a heavy fabric embroidered with stars and beasts,
you stroll, inspecting the trustworthy seems.

Shorts is your stay here:
now and then at a matinal hour, if the sky is clear,
in a melody repeated by a bird,
or in the smell of apples at close of day
when the light makes the orchards magic.

They say somebody has invented you
but to me this does not sound convincing
for the humans invented themselves as well.

The voice -- no doubt it is a valid proof,
as it can belong only to radiant creatures,
weightless and winged (after all, why not?),
girdled with the lightening.

I have heard that voice many a time when asleep
and, what is strange, I understood more or less
an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue:

day draw near
another one

do what you can.


Voice, Distant, Still Assembling                  Mark Irwin

Walking farther there, I am glad we
              age slowly, discovering now in memory
      similar frontiers of a physical world, visiting
as though for the first time
              ruins of a once great city, yet novel               

in the crumbling light. We trip 
and stumble, unaware, youthful in the obscurity
      of shadow, a kind of spring
in itself. Itself, where I touch places, gone, often
              confused to find a new home
not torn and built of green, but of a crumbling

orange, and there, there, as though walking
              through fire, taking pleasure in the fleeting
walls and lingering agoras, I glimpse
      ghost bodies and caress the flesh
              boats of their past as I walk toward
      what could be mountains or oceans, till finally
I am swimming through the lit window of a name. 


White Apples                           Donald Hall
when my father had been dead a week
I woke
with his voice in my ear
                                     I sat up in bed
and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door

white apples and the taste of stone

if he called again

I would put on my coat and galoshes.


Trapeze                                                                           Larissa Szporluk

To float you must float from within.
You must not feel attached

as you brush past the body you loved,
an arm past an arm, an almost weightless vapor.

Don't ask questions anymore. Don't hear
his seismic voice. Fractures thread the floor;

time will energize their creep
until you're craving through his ceiling.

It's all a matter of containment,
held-in breath, the hidden table. Keep in mind

that dreaming up means waking down,
so keep your swing in limbo. Don't aim high:

Where air turns thin, the ear tears open
with a secret's restless heat,

surrending its recess — the details of explosion
fizzling in a tree, remembered now and then,

but not so well, by something on and off,
like fireflies—when pressure mounts behind it.

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