Monday, July 12, 2010

unwritten letter

Neruda was a loud martyr to love,
ostensibly mooning over his women,
when actually trumpeting his ego.

Can it be done? A poem or letter
that is supple enough to subsume
the agonies and ecstasies of self?...
to cover rawness with silken subtlety?

Already the non-reader balks, winces.

I know you love the greatest music.
I know you feel into keening aspects.
I know deep symbols dance for you.
I know you're aware how foolish I am.

So there's no need to write a letter.
Instead let me speak through music.
I am sure you like sounding symbols.
I think that will express my feelings.

Mahler's 9th Symphony is what I choose.
I hope you accept its speaking in tones
to take the place of my unwritten letter.

I. Andante comodo

The waterfall of your hair is such life!
The turn of your head is the gesture
prompting tears so gentle in my eyes.
The depth of your own eyes goes dark
into tunnels of incomprehensible vision
that time has given you and that life
has given me as a journeying into joy.

A castle is holding secrets in its dungeon
of nights, a castle in the lost precincts
of fantastic old Europe. Holding hostage
stars too pure to shine in Neruda's sky.
I gather those clusters of desiring light,
I gather them into my bags of breathing,
into my lungs marking the doom of time.

Yes now from the ramparts, I think of you.
I breathe in the dark light of you. Alone,
I am drawn toward your dancing ghost.
You are not so much flesh as a rhythm.
You are moving angles and quiet pauses.

You are turning in your golden silks, you
are turning out there on the plain of hope.
The sense of your music, of your dance
is a form of my irrational nature, of my
long eruption from nothing into hurting
matter and energy, having found you.

That solo flute! Can you hear its wavering
cascade of tones through warped mirrors?
The drunken reflections link into a circle,
and I skip along its perimeter like a boy
who has stumbled into a field of daisies.
You are the soft golden glow that spreads
over the bittersweet meadow, all the way
out to the curving line of death's horizon.

II. Im Tempo eines gemächlichen Ländlers.
Etwas tappisch und sehr derb

Oh!...the streets are now filling with souls.
I'll follow them to the soirée where touching
is always a possibility, even among phantoms.

The ghosts are swirling here! And laughing.
I shall mingle with a faint smile, expecting
to see you out there in the crowd of wonder.
So many deep colors – scarves on breezes
gently lifting hearts and feet in happiness,
in this carnival of hot-blooded spirit revelers.

But you are not to be seen here among them.
And that is the new gift of sadness I treasure.

I step into the whirlpool of masks and sighs.
I begin to turn this way and that. I dance
in 3/4 time my absurd delight in separation.
Faster, faster...into a dizzy stomping witless
moving symbol of how much I do love you.

III. Rondo-Burleske.
Allegro assai. Sehr trotzig

It had to happen, in this movement of Mahler,
a spilling of black feeling onto the cusp of beats!
It had to change into this Delirium of Mockery.

The brass is guffawing “Ha ha ho, Ha ha ho!”
And I think you are here now, but changing
into a cat standing on hind legs and leering.
Who could miss your noble Egyptian purring?...
that purring at the silly mouse who chases you?
Even the mouse laughs at his pathetic torment.

This is truly a form of hell, and is nauseating.
This is the warping of passion into nightmare
that comes from me becoming an afterthought.

IV. Adagio.
Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend must, it will, and it does change again.
Your heart is a soft miracle of rain and growth.
And like the unknown pulse of hidden elements,
the music of your smile is infinite and will hold
a place for me in the garden of mystic affection.

Wait!...a little more time. Yes...a little more time.
Here in the slowing space of purling dimensions.
I am so out of sequence and losing imagination.
It drains into the culvert of hope and is washing
away piece by liquid piece, like raindrops after
touching the garment of your silken perfection.

Oh!...look what a mess I've made of not writing!
How could you bear to imagine such outpouring?
I got carried away with a wanton exuberance
coming from the miracle of knowing you at all,
even some niche of your coy unreachableness.

Sometimes I stray toward death and its succor,
but it's nothing to desire. It's the death of desiring.
So I'll burn near the ending. I'll burn off my symbols
in a cold fire of kisses, kissing only the cooling air.

Do you see that I'm trying to reach beyond words?
And as music fades into a dream of never waking,
I'll stretch out an unwritten hand toward your own.
Maybe you'll mistake my caress for summer wind
brushing across the surface of sensitive fingers.
You'll not know my spirit moved in that moment,
moved as finale folded into the desert's sigh.


I have heard that the flung sea can also carry
a message on its glimmering, salty surface.

Copyright 2010, Tim Buck

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