The Geography of Silence



The Geography of Silence

1. Laundry drooping at midday.

2. She dreams off-key, in pastels.

3. With misunderstanding comes anger.

4. Mata! Mata! Again!

5.  Ashes crossing the ocean.

6.  Sweat, and the taste of separation.

7.  Reaching for past moons, she cries.

8.  Death’s shade.

9.  Rice.

10.  Self-sacrifice, the centered gift.

11. Inward, always. Inward.

telescope map

18 thoughts on “The Geography of Silence

  1. Outstanding title! I really like the cadences of this, too. If you were to read this aloud, Bob, are you saying the numbers? I especially find intriguing the last line. “Inward, always. Inward.” My gut tells me that “Inward. Always inward.” would be the expected punctuation, lending it a certain cadence, but you’ve defied that convention (if you will), and that made for a really special moment. Bravo, a brilliant WCW-esque poem with startling strokes of imagism (laundry, moon, ashes, rice, ocean) if I may say so. I think it’s time for you to do another reading! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I’d read the numbers, too, as I consider them a part of the poem. The last line was written with the expected punctuation, but I liked the change in emphasis with the final version – it sounded better, more final, perhaps, when read aloud. And speaking of readings, I’m joining four or five other poets for a Tupelo Press 30-30 reading here in Austin on April 15. It’ll be fun!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful poem! I really enjoyed reading this – I’m curious about the numbers too, I think they work really well as part of the poem. Some beautiful imagery and use of language here, and a fitting title to such an approachable – and relatable – moment. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think, for my circumstances, a more accurate translation would have been “You in a heap of trouble now, boy,” as my mother would utter the word when she was upset with me. Now that the mockingbird has left, I am the best poet in my backyard. Which is more than enough. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • You need not be modest. A FACT carries no arrogance, a TRUTH does not inflate. As far as I am concerned e.e. cummings travelled forward in time, stole your mojo, and returned to write ‘I Shall Imagine Life.”

        Real poetry is like mold found between slices of bread, it carries an “I was here… for better or for worse…” quality. Poems are found in empty alleys behind an old crate filled with broken glass. Poems are found in a spider’s web in the attic of a recently deceased grandparent, and as you stated, in a midday laundry droop.

        Formal poem making is the craft of the fascinated amateur – whose poems have never caught a cold, or been bored in a bus station, and will never know the salty chocolate of a lover’s neck during a Newport sundown or the stink of a catfish-y riverbank in Louisiana. The ‘craft of poetry’ rots on the vine while you go about uncovering the living poem in your armpit or bathtub or next meal.

        Your poems are found in all the places poems MUST be found. Your poems are alive because they are living-as-such.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Being born in the US and spending 73 years there before moving to Sapporo, Japan in early 2008, this poem has a world of meanings to me, as I’m never in just one place, but dragged back and forth across the Pacific Ocean time and time and time again. Thank you for writing and sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can I canonize you? Then get somebody to paint me an icon, with a bridge on fire in the background, because one of the meanings of kaji is conflagration and I am always saying we will burn that bridge when we come to it and poetry is about building bridges between the heads of the poets and the heads of the readers… I clearly need more coffee…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Geography of Silence – Thatswutshised

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.