Pushing silence to and fro | the words like hands | sculpting snow or sand, and the wind always waiting | We don’t necessarily like the sound of our own voices but | we grow used to them | At night, in dreams, though, our voices | climb out of our minds, out of our mouths | and scuttle around, taking ships to the desert, or asking the dead to be happy | in other words | we stand apart from our own voices, and notice that | they have a glittering, alien shell | a maze of definitions | a public ice | and it dawns on us | perhaps even our own voices, after all, are not | our friends?… || In the defile between the mountains of buildings | I make my way along the meaning I make | from the sense of the day | My sentence can extend out space and time in fairy glamour | and each proposal convenes a cosmogony || It is not the generals who order armies to advance, but | the words | not the politicians who | inherently harassed and compromised | tweak and fade their lies, but | the words – it is the words lay down the grids that | generals and politicians | adopt | it is the words | mould the people into the clichés they become, and the words, too, that | in their tendrils and their filigree, their gold like smoke, their silver in fumes | in arabesques and serpentines and curls and coils | offer the vines of voices | ornate escapes from overly | controlled courtyards and gardens || From bubble | to | bubble | the wizard orator | climbs | from bubble | to | bubble / stone to stone / ascends the heights of persuasion | lays out a sparkling trail of truths | and never looks back to see | how the iridescent, vacillatory stepping stones he took | have popped into the ether, leaving him | no way of returning | to the place he set out, but by | confabulating just such another string of glistening words | that people may follow, as if it were law || Half in yellow and half in red | we stroll in our queer coats | following the shrill and mazy notes | the music of the pipes we play | heading for a portal in the mountainside | which will lead us who knows where – some kind of paradise, perhaps?

The voice as light and the word as beginning | Will o’ the wisps | deceiving elves | scaly and brine-soaked creatures from | the old pots of folklore or fairy tales | The elegant equations, written in salt or chalk | how the squealing hordes of goblins and flippertigibbets called | the forms of the void | mock and screech our sense, and with talons and corkscrew fingertips | trace the lines of our limits, the very | announcement of the state we’re in || When the voices cease | piles of silence resume themselves | like cones of pale sand | in the temple gardens of Ginkakuji | where snow | whitens the greens of the pines | in the air and in the water | of the pool

 


from sentence | angels of order
sequence of 100 poems (2012–2018)
(this poem, October 2012)