Bone Music


Bone Music

But how to reconcile the difference? Consider
drag force, velocity at impact, position,
surface tension. Gravity. I drink more wine
and drift, trying to recall that last conversation,
those few sentences revised in the moment,
exhaled and consumed in passing. It’s
likely that fractured ribs lacerated the heart and
lungs, or severed major arteries. Sometimes
words evaporate, leaving behind only the faintest
residue. Or they might absorb the ocean’s power,
the beauty, the blackness of the deepest
nocturnal canyon or the weight of a dying
high mass star’s core, crushing any deliberation,
any attribution, with remorse. Sky above,
the earth below, silvered leaves. A shared moon.
This fluttering from great heights. The outward
thrust. The shearing. A fluttering within. Each
morning I acknowledge pain and fear, refleshing
the night’s bones phrase by delicate phrase into
numinous forms greater than their divisible
parts, their intractable sums, into bodies and
shapes extracted through a moment’s glimpse,
brief afterthoughts groaned across the opening
blue, saying I was right, I admit inaction, I
confess it all, water, water, I knew too little.

“Bone Music” first appeared in Gossamer: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry, published by Kindle Magazine in Kolkata, India. I was thrilled to have several poems included in the anthology.


41 thoughts on “Bone Music

  1. I really like this. In some ways this is different from your other work, though the word craft is so clearly you.
    “Sky above,
    the earth below, silvered leaves. A shared moon.” I like the way these pieces fly together to paint the scene. When I read it again, I had a flash of someone throwing velcroed patches at a felt board — observations made quick-quick for context even though the real meat of the memory is the jumper.
    I absolutely love how you construct your poetry. It’s not lofty and obscure, but there’s enough metaphor to veil happenstance or the mundane into something that raises the curiosity. You have a gift.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I concur with Tami’s estimation of your gift for subtle brilliance that brings existential considerations into sharp, smart focus — at once transmuting abstraction into vivid, emotional immediacy… Your poetry is not for readers who don’t want to accept a certain amount of agency in deliberately negotiating your language and all its historical and cultural intersections — and yet, you’ve certainly reached a substantial audience, which I find heartening, and encouraging.

      The experience you relate in *Bone Music* is largely about a kind of knowing in our bones that can’t be appropriated by language and translated into definitive fact. Being human and fallible (and fallen) limits our ability to secure meaning and discern truth in each present moment, as well as in retrospect. The bridge between our perception and the reality it tries to apprehend is untenable — even for the most well-intended and devoutly connected to pure experience among us. The very best we can do (while knowing it will never be enough to fix what is broken…), is the godly, creative work of “refleshing the bones,” of clothing the eternal mystery, the inaccessible weight of our (often too fleeting) existence, in holiness. Your poetry (particularly this piece) exemplifies an earnest, diligent striving to embody one’s best self, in bravely assuming responsibility for shortcomings and refusing to capitulate to the alternatives of willful ignorance, or stultifying despair. You offer your readers a realm of exquisite substance that is rooted in a universal experience under a “shared moon” without pretense to prescriptive knowledge of human spirituality. In my experience, many people find this degree of ambiguity disconcerting… but to me, it is precious.


      • Thank you, Stephanie. I never know what I’m writing about until I write, but the common theme would likely be one of exploring or questioning the human experience. We live ambiguous lives – I would not know how else to approach life, or writing about it.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. reading “trying to recall that last conversation” and I’m immediately remembering someone lost, and how hard it is after all these years to recall the details – all I remember are the feelings, all I feel is their essence, their presence somehow still with me – a smile, a gesture and the love 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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