to talk about Hindemith,
to tell me how his overtones connect each bar,
invisible thread, sounds we can't hear.
These harmonics guide us through the music, resolve
the twelve tones like mist in a valley,
the reflection of sky in water,
the illusion that what's unnamed remains unformed.
Our voices connected by black wire,
words carried on waves.
We are the strain and stress of a line,
the poem's tension singing in each black wire
of words, and between the first line and the last.
We are the angle of light that burns water,
the point of intersection that creates perspective.
You have lived Brecht's parable of the Chalk Circle.
When I was caught in the middle, you let go
so I wouldn't be torn to pieces.
Your actions have taught me what it is to love -
that it's holding back, as well as holding.
For the first time I'm going
where you can't join me. I know that home
is the one place you won't come.
But you of all people must understand -
the need to hear my language in every mouth.
I can't think in America.
I've never let myself describe you
and now there's no time left
your meaning spills out of me
like the essence of an atom cracking
on the edge of speed's bowl,
liquid in its longing to become part of something else,
Flesh moves to become spirit.
You were the only one to understand my conversion.
Many people have asked me about God;
my proof is manifestation,
that God can be called
'getting over fear'.
I wanted badly that truth be a single thing;
now I know it won't be measured.
It wasn't Heisenberg or Hindemith, but you
who convinced me
that nothing can be unravelled to its core,
that truth is a field, a cage, a cloud of sound.
How else to reconcile the faces of those running away
with the faces of those turning away,
with the faces of those in uniform - that hair-shirt
that says more about a man than his eyes
because you can't tell the parts of his face
that are his.
How else to encompass both that crying and those
orders; the sound of my own voice
begging, and my voice telling jokes to the man
without shoes beside me on a train;
how else to encompass the moon's chilling scream
as it calls out in its bad sleep above the earth
and your voice on the phone,
waking me in Paris, Los Angeles, New York.