Lashing us to an iron stake on shore.
We never quite launch even
Though our ship is loaded and ready.
Every minute that goes by, our
Craft sinks deeper into sediment.
But we’re always on the verge of starting
Our speeches, our finely honed
Discourses on love or rage
Without ever saying a single word.
We make listeners uncomfortable
And we’ve learned to play it off like John Cage
But we don’t get it; it isn’t the silence
That makes our audiences
Look down at their shoes;
It’s the ineffectual efforts to break it.
I’m like a golfer with the yips,
Overthinking the simplest of things.
Right grip light, pretend you're
Holding an infant by the hand.
Easy oscillant backswing like grandpa’s
Metronymic head shaking in derision.
Practice swing upon practice swing,
It's the only way not to miss.
I also have this unfortunate stutter of the heart
That happens at the most inopportune times.
Like when everything melts away
Except for the one true thing
And it's up to me
To best express it.
But just as I commence
Something always goes awry.
In that moment when a good heart
Ought to swell before it flutters,
Mine tends to skip a few beats
And I mistake the fluency
Of the silences for esoteric profundity.
It doesn’t hold up to scrutiny
All this self induced suffering.
But I know of no quick fixes.
There’s more in the silences
Than you can possibly hear.
You’d have to look to realize this.
If I had to depict it on the page
You’d see dashes and commas
In the gaps between the words
And a series of periods of ellipses.