all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein

all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

poem after a long silence

This will not go down in the history books as your finest art. Already you feel your enthusiasm flagging, the hour tipping the scales, your words browning in the humid air as a fan whirs behind you theatrically, as if all that blowing will really cool the room down. What you have is that C in penmanship from 6th grade and that part of you still locked in broken cursive, taunted by the perfect geometry of lined paper. Forget it. You are now just cleaning the pipes, swabbing an ear canal with a bud of cotton. Whatever lithe figure you'd imagined the poem would cut against the backdrop of a disheveled, ambivalent world was invented in the thick obstacle of your wishful thinking. This will not be that silken silhouette, that smooth sip from a movie martini. No, this one will lumber like a hippo, drag itself through swamp grass, all the while tripping over nubby toes. That grace you long for, the appearance of an effortless surrender, is playing on another screen.This will be all you can do, your tongue swollen from silence, your body lethargic after its long burial under evasive adjectives. Say it simple as a cone of ice cream. Draw the scrawl of it on a taproom napkin. Kiss it, sloppy as you are, into being. This is how it must come, lumpy and malfunctioned, rusty from disuse. This is how you must come, entering the playroom tripping on shards of some glass you don't remember breaking. No matter. A welcome still plays on the lips of this new, barbarous being. Hold it by the cheeks. Come close. Steady now. Steady.

4 comments:

mindy said...

i feel this so deeply. so sumptuous and lovely, maya.

Sherry Belul said...

Maya. maya. maya. I love you! Thank you for this. Especially: "Say it simple as an ice cream cone." And "This is how you must come, entering the playroom tripping on shards of some glass you don't remember breaking."
xoxoxo

E South said...

Wow. My heart is still singing after reading this. I missed you for this long month of silence. Thank you for bring more words.

susan Preston said...

brilliant, maya!