Sunday, December 29, 2013

Poem: Cadenza


(for JC Watson)

Starving tenor sits in his blank page of a room
rolling the head of his pen, staring down a team of Russian novels
he writes a song for himself, sings it into the mirror
watching his breath steam up in pancake ovals

In the dark hall near the exit he places solace and solitude
bred together like mutant apples
two bodies, one stem
and inside, the seeds shaped like stars

Starving tenor piles scored sheets in the center of his kitchenette and
shoots them sideways into a combine
pulling them out the other end wrapped in baling wire

He stabs it with a pitchfork and poles it high on his shoulder
trodding a metered path to the concert hall
humming me and my shadow
running it high and low for warmth
ready to plow through these soundproof doors and plunder the stage

This is my voice, hear it call
hear it rip down clouds from the heavens
but when he enters, he is struck dumb

Raven-haired mezzo, center stage
piping stories over the orchestra
singing his song
different notes, farther measures, but his song

captured in the bars of her southbound whisper he has no
choice but to sit and listen
snipping the wires from his baled manuscript and chewing it all down
wondering if he has been writing too low

I will shove it all up an octave
I will plant altos and basses beneath her
I will carry candles into my dark hall
until the music cracks my curtains
and pulls sunlight up from the east

First published in Eclectic Literary Forum
(Tonawanda, New York)

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