chagall backdrop

She’s too polite a poetess perhaps, upbringing is hard to shake,
with the grace to condone even those who’d regard her
disdainfully, empowered to do so by her own decree,
so self-destructive she is.

Be not reluctant
to unveil secrets after all
that’s what words which glance aslant are for
.  .  .
she once wrote, or something to that effect and along those lines.

Her speech once was cursive, carved and poignant filigree
about the air and above the heads of unsuspecting passers-by,
she hovered in full Technicolor over the bleak and disenfranchised
ideas yet to be grasped, bursts of dizzying oxygen but helium-spiced,
sugars, and everything nice, a will-o’-the-wisp who left behind
the scent of salty brine and lavender.

I will have kissed her face in the warm downpours,
brushed snow from her lashes, stood her umbrella in summer sand,
and pondered with her the golden passing of autumn,
every year since I’ve known her.

She writes less and less, prefers instead to hold it in these days,
to let it eat away rather than share the poverty, she’s decided that’s more valuable,
though she occasionally jots off a couplet or two, just for me,
and once a sonnet shared over cocktails and take-out.

Sometimes I sit at the piano and shape chord forms freely in space,
handsome constructions of arched fingers and opposing motions,
search for dissonance though often find harmony,
while she randomly intones beautiful sonorous sounds like words
aimed at the more resonant chambers of the room, her voice round
with a touch of the rasp to alert the world-weary that we are kindred spirit;
her melody shifts at odd intervals and the tempo-free meter allows us to float
in time and heart, in perfect poise aligned without tonic,
we resolve at will, or not at all, the upper partials of our tensions,
we modulate to a better point of view on life, its victories
and more often of late, its sweet despairs, which no one key
can capture, paint, hold or release; how many times we’ve stopped mid-phrase
and have kissed like two insane pretending, without losing the tone nor the shape of our song.

© Chagall 2014