Poem: “Walking On Faces” (2010)

The dim light
hangs.
I punctuate
silence.

The dark corner
calls.
I choose
a careful path.

The floor is populated:
metal faces cry,
grimace, countenance
the violence of my gait,

clanking
     protests;
     warnings;
     death-cries.

I enter
the heart.
The ceiling is low
at my head.

Brutal steps
ring sharp
in my ears.

Detachment dies in
     protests;
     warnings;
     death-cries.

I choose
a path of return,
for which I am.

I remember
the dead
only through force,
clanks and cries.

What is my alibi?
What is my alibi?

Published as lyrics for Cindervoice’s Before the Turn LP, 2010. Spurred by Menashe Kadishman’s “Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves)” installation at the Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum, Berlin); video here.

Poem: “Threshold” (2009)

From the far room,
a figure with many faces

stumbles
into the hall—

forgets, for a moment,
the place of doors.
Walls,

	many colored,
	bead with sweat.

Hands
	fumble for edges
	in the kaleidoscope:
doorframes
in shifting light.

		This one
		does not want
		to be found.

Thick air:
footfalls in puddles
recall

when breath was all—

before the ceiling
rose, upwelling,

	from the floor—

before the earth
broke
into rooms;

	doors.


***
The dog, curled with her ball, waits for variation in the man curled by the door. Whiskers wick moisture from air. She breathes in rhythm, water dripping; voices in the vent. Eyes intent. A shift in the light. Front paws become palms. She stands; glides across the room; grasps his shoulders. Shakes him. Speaks: “Why are you bent to the shape of the doorway, pressed to the threshold, praying, when you and I could be playing?” The dog, curled with her ball, waits for variation in the man curled by the door. Whiskers wick moisture from air.
***
She has not touched a moment in days. Gaunt. Paper skin. She sits at the table. Images assess bones, angles. Melting ice seeps from the refrigerator, spreads across the floor. Touches her toe, tickles a memory— another room. She brought language. He brought colores, spoke in broken Spanish. She painted flores. Thin muscles tighten with resolve. She stands, shuffles across the floor— water soaks her soles— opens the door— more supple skin bends with her steps— clasps a hand.
***
The air— humid with child. Two melodies intertwine— improvise a whisper: arms that will need to learn to hold, hands that will need to learn to let go. A breath cools their bodies.
***
Drip. Drip. Drops fall past blue drapes; open window, yellow petals, green stems. Strike the soil. Split. Smaller droplets cling to the surface, then seep toward roots. He reaches, pinches a stem. Breaks the flow. Places the flower behind his daughter’s beaming ear. “Beautiful,” he says. She smiles.

Published as lyrics for GODHEADSCOPE’s Threshold LP, 2009.

Poem: “Solidarity” (2011)

Open up
your ruined house.
Fear not for God.
The poem is my pocket.

The fiber fragment,
folded tight:
tucked into a secret,
always moving.

Behind the seam,
this inner lining,
I smuggle hope
beyond debris.

My fingers pinch
the promise firm.
I press tomorrow:
shelter in your palm.

We read aloud,
breathe into rubble.
We read aloud,
Our ruin now

a temple.

Published as lyrics for GODHEADSCOPE’s Patience EP, 2011. Spurred by Czesław Miłosz’s essay “Ruins and Poetry.”

Fatherhood, fiction, poetry, song