false dawn

September 26, 2017 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

false dawn

having known too many voices,
echoing with a dying fall
within an empty room
(though these bric-a-brac
and curios–mementoes
of voyages to foreign lands,
through strangers’ lives–remain,
the room remains unfilled):

having too often conquered shyness
to make a gentle approach–and been,
on the whole, rebuffed: at some
other moment, perhaps, or in
some other place, she (a generalized
“she,” by now: too many faces)
gently intimates, afraid
of pain and pain’s expression…

having looked and dreamed,
moved by a fantasy born
of swaying hips or a graceful smile,
a vision
of some other sort of life, another

having known too many
falsely heralded approaches
to love and truth and beauty,
those dying falls, the gestures
failed, uncompleted, the words
silenced in mid-sentence:

having known the tired, the metalled
streets and the men in shirtsleeves,
lonely, searching for a meaning touch–
or, at least, lust’s requitance…the bars,
that promise in the evening’s neoned light
cessation of this search
for an unnamed, indeed unknown
thing (and you have asked yourself,
too often, why you need another:
after all these failed approaches, after all
these waxwinged sunward flights
and other follies, why)…

having walked among the prostitutes,
and within the churches, the congregations
of the lonely and afflicted–having known
too many journeys begun and ended
in fantasy, hesitation
having swallowed all…

having known all this, that mounted only
to an overwhelming question
for which you had no answers–
having known all this, and more,
you find yourself exiting
to the deserted street, to search–

once again–for an answer
to the question you cannot
or dare not voice, waiting for
false dawn.


This is from ‘voices’.  It’s one of the youngest poems in the collection, dating from mid- to late-80s.  When I get out, which means I’m suspecting I will after a fairly routine little stint, I’ll soon sporadically start offering to actually get all of ‘voices’ typed up (there is quite a bit more, after all) and sent off either as a download (nominal sum), or printed (at which point I’d have to formalize the whole thing).  As far as current poetry goes, if anyone wants to hassle me enough even with the years that I destroyed there’s a lot of ‘first-run’ poetry.  As I’ve said, I found that I at one point began writing for others’ approval and found I began despising myself with the realization.  (I was raised as a Calvinist, Christian Reformed; what can I say??)  Mind you, as the parenthetical comment there implies, I was merely practicing a skill already well-developed as a child, with the aid of my adopted parents.  I found the same thing with poetry that I didn’t submit for publication; I needed a ‘cooling off’ time before I had the perspective to judge.  To reword that, to my eyes, a lot of my poetry sucks unless aged properly so that I can judge what’s moldy from birth and what’s not (even if some mold has to be scraped off).  [I’m being literal, although moldy cheese isn’t sold to the public.]

Entry filed under: Ancient Poetry, poetry, voices. Tags: , , .

on relative silences river images (2)

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