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Poetry Offerings from Philip Vassallo | Poem






So many people calling themselves poets
who aren't, telling her what poetry really is,

not a one agreeing with the other, save to say
she's not nearly the poet they are, that their words

transcend words toward some mythical labor
for humanity, bleeding black ink on coarse white paper

as if their words could feel the pain of life and death
by showing nothing but the parched, blood-stained earth

and not the rended flesh, the rueful breath,
saying poetry is theirs alone because she can't say

what their musings mean. But if she's really not a poet,
then she must be a poem. See how she becomes,

how she laughs when the elders hold hands
to shape the basket spilling of loaves and fish

and she calls song their croaking the legends of their lives,
and cries the same at the birth and death of children,

and weeps in pity for the Wind, whose broken bones
don't stop him from his incessant labors across land and sea

and she rocks her head and sways her breasts and smiles at readings
and prays that these poets speak to more than just themselves

as if her dreams, fueled by desire or will alone,
should form from their words music only she can play.

But they cannot play for her, for she,
you see, is the poem.


When shutters
right the light
my wife

on my side
of darkness
this quiet room

warm with vision
and fragments
of fortunate light

draw infinity symbols
on the convex plane
of her softness

her circling the space
in a dance we shared
and patches of shadow

present her past, a vector
on the ceiling and the wall
I touch her parts

the darkness has stolen.
Time absolutely
ravages bodies

even memories
into vague whispers
for this is now

a generation later
and sounds still pass
between us but

not the same,
not the same.
Ours is a song of affinity

composed by our parents at rest
hummed by our children as prayer
and sung by our eyes and fingers

this passage from light to
darkness to light
where we lie together

and form the motion of love,
the shape of love,
the love.

The Refuge Room

Early poems of Philip   /  short autobio

to Philip's home page

to Moongate


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