Saturday, June 29, 2013

POEM: The Lives of Voices

I found a voice on the street and thought it was mine. It was robust and fit well enough into my vest pocket, that I thought it might be the voice of reason so I kept it, hidden from the tirade of winter, keeping it dry and warm for future use. I wore this voice as a sacred undergarment, not unlike those worn by Mormons.

The next day, while hiking, I found a wounded voice in the woods, tattered in its timbre, fading at the edges. I brought it home and made it Portuguese White Bean and Kielbasa soup to give it heart, to fatten its soul. I hoped to make one fully reconstituted voice capable of the most unnerving prayer, the kind that makes you shiver from the openness; the kind that precedes a great discovery.

Friends encouraged my voice, asked her to sing, asked her to recite poems, to do interpretive dance. But her nerve grew and shrank based on the temperature of the dreams she had at night: hot dreams made her want to do more, to stand taller and to preach; cooler dreams made the voice believe she was a mushroom that no one bore witness to.

On some evenings, wandering the city streets, my own voice abandoned me and danced down alley-ways, bounding off of narrow walls, off of stucco buildings, pink in its carousing, drinking, finding women of low self-esteem, lifting their spirits and their skirts. In the morning, my voice would come back, headache in hand, remorseful for having bounced over the cobblestone of its own imagination only to find its way home on the back of a whisper.

Sometimes, in the fall, the season of great migrations, I find voices strewn all over New England, each one needing a hand up, each one in search of an inner ear and some bone-rubbing.

Not every voice makes the journey in one piece of course. Some are carried off by the wind on horseback never to be heard again. Some voices take a life time to bubble, to boil like the White Bean and Kielbasa, until it is soup. Some voices are just a glance, or a touch. And still others paint their hands bright saffron and touch everything.

Dreamers dribble into the 13 billion year old universe, spending their days waving to passing celestial bodies, never even looking for an ear to inhabit.


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