Online and Off

for W.R.

I keep finding you as a friend of friends,
or in the spuriously precise terms of LinkedIn,
a 2nd degree connection. You’ve added
various certifications and jobs at companies
which weren’t even around in the days
we worked around a so-called platonic attraction.
The ways we fit together broke down under the strain.

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Dancing about Architecture

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

– Martin Mull(?)

At first, we’re told, guttural cries
were what passed for expression.
Passed
is not the right word, but professional
critics often rule out categories, deny
expression after the fact, and have tried,
from Mozart to Schoenberg, to call attention
to the various sins against form, the tension
between the old skins and new wine.

Schoenberg, for his part, had no use
for laws that came after the fact,
said they burst under special kinds
of tests — exceptions which make us loosen
rules disprove their need. He backed
off to be free of a tonal bind.

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What I Learned By Not Thinking About It (draft 2, dVerse prompt)

It wasn’t that important to solve anyway,
which is good, because it doesn’t yield
to analysis or much of anything.

Even in physics we learned one can observe
vector or velocity, not both,
which leaves room for something. Call it God,
but not the god of flannel cutouts in cigar boxes,
musty Sundays, leading us to ever more thinking.

But it’s not nothing.
Or if it is, it’s the type of nothing
expressed in the tired old lines:

Have you seen my wife?

Is she about 5’2″, red haired, wearing a blue sweater?

That’s her! Have you seen her?

No, man, I haven’t.

The Dream of Quoting Wendell Berry at the Rotary Club Meeting

During her speech, the nutritionist had said
we can only begin with where we are
speaking of a gradual reduction of fried chicken in our diet

When question time came I rose and asked:
Were you consciously evoking Wendell Berry’s
line we can only begin with what has happened

As she nervously nodded I expressed relief:
because the whole time you’ve been talking
I’ve been thinking about those rural deaths, those
chest clutching spasms leading to a Country Funeral –
here I paused for recognition which didn’t come

Continue reading “The Dream of Quoting Wendell Berry at the Rotary Club Meeting”

A Few Calls About Death

My father at the breakfast table with Mom,
hanging up the phone: “Well, Dean is gone.”
My mother’s damn-you tears: how can you?

What else could he do? The time he called
to tell me about our friend who’d been
electrocuted, we were crossing the state line,
my wife and I, the young childless couple
heading back from vacation, and he said:
“There’s no good way to tell you this…”

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