The Resonance of No (with recording)

dishes

 

 

 The Resonance of No

Yes, yes, we’ve heard. The dishwasher wastes less
and cleans better. But Kenk­ō believed in the beauty
of leisure, and how better to make nothing
while standing with hands in soapy water, thoughts
skipping from Miles Davis’s languid notes to the spider
ascending to safe shelter under the sill (after I blow
on her to amuse myself), washing my favorite knife
and wondering if I should hone it, not to mention
my skills on the six-string or the potato peeler.
And if I linger at the plates, even the chipped one,
admiring their gleam after hot water rinses away
the soap residue, who could question the quick gulp
of ale or the shuffle of an almost-but-not-quite
dance step-or-stumble while arranging them on the
ribbed rack, back-to-back, in time to Coltrane’s
solo. Then the forgotten food processor’s blade
bites my palm, and I remember that I’ve outgrown
the dark suit, the cut branches still need bundling
and none of the words I’ve conjured and shaped
over decades and miles will extend their comfort
when I stand at my father’s grave this week or next.

 

“The Resonance of No,” was published in December 2016 in Gravel, and is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second.

Daniel Schnee wrote about this poem here.

Music Credit: Cool Vibes Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

13 thoughts on “The Resonance of No (with recording)

  1. Ahhh, so it’s your father that passed away…your recent posts didn’t identify the loss, but it seemed a loved one. I’m so sorry. And as for washing dishes, I’m glad to not have a dishwasher…I enjoy it very similarly as you’ve written it here…except when I pick up a decent sharp knife 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It seems so wonderfully apropos to have included a recorded reading of this poem, Bob. In a world increasingly dominated by vacant beeps and self-absorbed tweets, how nice it is to listen to someone who earnestly reaches out to others. Also, it is your willingness to confront the No that allows you (and your readers) to fully appreciate the Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

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