Friday, September 9, 2011

A horse (I mean, a poem) with no name

The title of this post has little or nothing to do with the upcoming poem, but I rather like the song by America. Seelenluft also did a nice cover of it in 2007, if you're into electronica. I am, apparently.

When was it that you realized
that all you could remember of a person
were the places you'd been together, the smell of the air, the cotton scraping of jeans?
When did you begin drawing pictures of those moments that had so little to do
with the yellow angles of streetlamp shadows,
the indifferent cool of a concrete ledge in summer dusk,
the fluttering black silhouette
                                              of a balloon sailing into the stratosphere,
And everything to do with the light pressure of cold fingers,
the words that played languidly in the space between you?

The memory of the soul is frail, wispy-thin
as a sunlight kiss to glass.
                                              So you speak
of scratchy plaid sofas and harsh linoleum light
and lucid melodies tumbling from the piano.
– Of these you must sing, for when that cherished figure sails away
you are left with only the things you can know,
            which are the things that remain,
                   which are the sighings of spruce branches,
      the chilly scent of midnight,
the moonglass glint of gravel beneath tired feet.

One day you realized that these things could not escape you,
            that you could grasp them and gather them and hold them in place,
and when you did, they formed the negative space
around the silhouette of his soul.

EYN 2010


  1. I feel like it's been too long since I posted anything. Though I do have several ideas spinning around in my head (and in my sketchbook), none of them are ready for any kind of airing. Who knew that starting a semester eliminates time for personal projects?

    Well, I figured that I could post some of my older stuff, as very little of it has made it to the outside world. Plus also the ideas in this piece have been resurfacing recently.

    Finally, I never found a satisfactory title for this. The one I used for my Creative Writing portfolio was "Collage," and the working title was "Concrete Memories," but neither of those sits right with me. I'm not joking when I say I'm open to submissions on these things.

  2. What about something stupid like Negative Space?

  3. Ah, plags.
    And dagspit.
    Sorry I don't think out my comments like you do before you type 'em. Etc.

  4. whatabout the obvious . . . "missing you"?

  5. Good thoughts. Thanks to the both of you.

    Madeleine: You don't?
    BNZAPFA: Well, for one thing, I tend to shy away from the obvious, which may be an issue with which to deal on its own.
    Secondly, though (and maybe this didn't come across): to me, this poem is less a simple "oh, I miss you," and more of an "oh, shoot! I can't even remember _why_ I miss you..." If that makes sense.

    Oh, no! I've succumbed to the seductive idea that whatever the author intended should influence how the reader interprets the piece! Sorry, guys...

  6. Michael's favorite joke:
    "An old man wakes from a nap and showers, cleaning with great detail. He then dresses immaculately, each component exactly coordinated and so subtly correct that his appearance and grooming relax whoever sees him: people look twice because he is so appealingly correct.
    He walks into a nice restaurant and sits at the bar. Down a few chairs sits a lovely woman approximately the same age. She also is dressed and groomed with gracious fastidiousness.
    Their eyes meet. They cast their gazes aside and re-engage.
    The older man calmly moves to the seat beside the lovely lady.
    As her eyes meet his he asks, "do I come here often?"

  7. Hahahahaha! Yes, approaching senility is terrifying.

  8. Wow, beautiful poem! I really like the idea of the silhouette/ negative space obscuring the memory of the person from all the senses- not just sight. Even though it's a sad idea, it's a very unique and compelling one. Again, beautiful poem!