Notes from Warsaw —

his fingers
remember Chopin
as the night
flattens itself
against the walls and
light, little glowing
beads of light, piggyback
on notes as they
ricochet off the
ceiling —

he plays
for the
silence, to
disengage the silence, to
refute the unwillingness
of the silence, just
as the poet writes
to annihilate
emptiness —

the red
silence bleeds
into veins
so blood
rushes in a
torrent, a river,
a deluge that
senses a sea you
find —

silence whose
eyes and face and
breath he feels, whose
name he cries over and
over, key after key, tell
me its rhythm is
different from your
heartbeat —

the silence
dying till black is
dawn, till the sky is
a square of dirty blue like
wet clay beside a potter’s
wheel, blue clay that
becomes an urn,
becomes a carafe, a
chalice —

vessels are
shaped to interrupt
space, to unsettle the
endless harmony of air, to
break its flight, soft shapes
he knows, shadows he
knows, her throat, her
breasts, her waist, arching
blue as mazurka unwinds to
nocturne —

while words
spill black into
white emptiness, melding,
until the letters are a
bridge the silence
crosses, bleeding
curves on wood, slowly,
softly, each step an
infinity of notes on
which the light
moves —

do you
compose music like
you craft a
poem like you
turn a wheel under
the earth, accidentally,
thinking of her, not
thinking of her, figure
and sound and syllable,
trying hard to do
else —


(from Krakowskie Przedmieście: 14 Sep 2019)

30 thoughts on “Notes from Warsaw —

  1. I know Chopin was a pianist but this “bleeding
    curves on wood, slowly,
    softly, each step an
    infinity of notes on
    which the light
    moves —” made me think of a cello.


  2. very passionate – truly is a journey of a poem – I imagine a cello or violin playing softly and gaining power as I read this …


  3. Composing music, crafting poems, turning wheels…some things never end. And to that I say, Amen! (As long as they are good and true things, of course!)


  4. Oh wow, i didnt know you had been to Warsaw! I love “the poet writes to annihilate emptiness” this poem reminds me of the wonderful film The Pianist, about his survival during WWII. You would love it.


    1. Yes, briefly, last month. And I have seen The Pianist – a haunting movie. The history of the city and the horrors of the war leave a deep impression on any visitor. Am glad I could go there.


  5. Wow, wow, wow — this poem really is a piece of music, well arranged, carried through. Really well carried out…and through. I like the repetition of the word ‘silence’ in the first half of the poem, which really connects the verses and moves the theme on. Love this!


  6. To enter a music is to be entered by it: a greeting and welcome and surrender which takes listener and performer to strange lands and beds where music is a poetry hungering. Such resonance here of that hall.


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