Wednesday, April 30, 2014

national poetry month, day thirty: edward van vliet

The sky is beautiful tonight.
Or not the sky, really. The stars?
Not that either.

Somewhere a father is
putting his children to bed,
kissing them on their foreheads;
somewhere a young girl is saying her prayers;
somewhere a baby is crying,
someone is having an argument about who to blame.
Somewhere a young couple
is passionately making love for the first time,
a couple with many years under their belts
is relaxing in the usual habits,
or balancing the budget,
or planning a vacation.
Somewhere music is playing,
and a young man is fingering the frets of his guitar,
a young woman is exploring the edges of her voice.

Maybe it’s the silence
(though I don’t really enjoy silence).
Maybe it’s that there is stillness,
and that there is no regret right now,
only memories.
I taste them again,
roll them around my mouth,
tonguing their surfaces,
smoothing out the ridges.

I, too, have been someone
acquainted with the night.
I used it as a veil,
cultivated secrets – hidden exchanges.

I have taken to my bed beautiful women,
and less beautiful women;
I have embraced beautiful boys
and used them according to my own desires.
Though it really wasn’t about desire.
Nor beauty. Nor loneliness
(though I know you were thinking it).

I spent many nights
dancing under lights, or not.
I was content to dance alone;
enjoying the sensation of my body
moving through space,
the presence of other bodies,
the sweat and voices –
how to marry impulse and gesture,
the call and response, calculated displays.

Some nights I sat in my living room or on my bed,
high, and wept.
Some nights I wandered aimlessly along the city streets.
Some nights I was held a prisoner of hope –
mine or others’
- grasping at dreams or rumours,
looking for purchase.
Sometimes I crawled, or leapt –
I stumbled more often than I would care to admit.

I learned this:
all things are under pressure.
Sometimes they hold firm.
Sometimes they crumble.

All you can do is wipe your hands
- hopefully they will come clean –
and just keep moving.

That is comforting,
if not beautiful.


April 2014