Orchestra of Rain, #176

Bells, like the weight of a drop
fallen some miles, picking
up steam the whole way, screeching
on, on gravity, slowed down
only by the leaf atop
the tallest tree that shimmies
and lets the rain continue
on its way, leaving behind
a ping, imperceptible
to the human ear. Alone
one would never know, but struck
in unison with every
one of its brothers, the rain
and the leaves make a music
like bells along a river
in Myanmar or Upstate
New York. Along the Hudson
one can sit apart from trees
on the docks and watch the rain
paddle down the banks, across
the tense skin to join its kin
on commute to the city.

The violins are soft strands
of thin willowy branches
where the droplets are held up
and roll like dominoes down
to the first bend, then to choose
ritualistic suicide
or to stay, do the hard work,
continue on to the leaves,
to move inch by inch over
the score, drawing out
every long note. Don’t forget
me when you move to Brazil,
start speaking a new language,
have no time to sit and watch
the rain. I’ll be in New York,
resting along the Hudson
and handing out autographs
from the man who once loved you,
a man who sat underneath
trees to wait until the last
drop to drink you, who needed
no morsel more than your song.

As the showers swell, trumpets
like great announcers of kings,
the deep strains of slavery,
town-crier of the night’s blues
wind up singing. The droplets
have stretched out into long lines
of rain, seemingly endless
and shaking the will and wind
of the rivers, threatening
a swell, at some point, a flood
of emotion that can not
be held back. The Portuguese
lost not only the race for world,
conquest, the navigation
and map making battles, but
also the Great Bell of
Dhammazedi, sunk and left
always silent in the silt
of a river, at the cusp
of another rain. My tongue
will never speak as long as
it is drowned in loving you.

The cello is the swelling
river, the red puffy eyes
of the nights we spend alone
in our empty rooms crying
over the wrong word or move,
looking back on each droplet
of conversation, the reigns
we had as king and ruler,
great tender of the basin
through which the Hudson River
flows, the valley of our storms.
If I could bring myself to
no longer love, no longer
beg for a drink from these parched
lips, a tug on the rope still
connected to my edges,
that would pull me off balance
and let the clapper I keep
silent bang off the iron
sides of this life. The water
is the long dissipating
humming I send forth to you.

Low the thunder that rumbles
its threatening overtones,
deep belly of timpani
that rings true and clean, whale
of a story. The sad drums
of the rainstick, turned over
and over, breathing into
the bowled out wood, hollow shaft
of a didgeridoo. Carved
from the bare trunk of my old,
long unused chords. The river
is less than a stream, less than
the wet snake hidden in the
grass at Teotihuacan.
I can not come to you, not
fall for you. I will never
make it down the mountainside,
melt from my ice to muster
the courage of conviction.
I am that drop at the first
turn who simply sees the earth
and who jumps. Who prefers death.

The choir in the balcony
are a line of a angels, friends,
loved one and family who said
long past that one should forget
the block of ice we’re born from,
our first unknowing melting.
They carry a melody
of concern, a harmony
of anger for the ways which
the wind has blown, tearing down
powerlines and trees causing
outages at every turn.
How, they ask, can you return
to the banks of the river
where your homestead use to stand
knowing the sadness that grows
like a mold on what was lost,
what was left? They only work
in chorus with the countless
conductors who would lead you
to find a new soloist,
a new ingenue to love.

You made the right choice, back then,
to follow the Nielsen’s
that said there was no prospect
she would ever love you back,
not in that format. And so,
with the audience clapping
for your happiness and rain
falling, the great song reaches
its apex, and we are left
with time to let the waters
of the Hudson, its sister
rivers in Myanmar, and
the dissipating ringing
of a rusty bell blanket
us in our sleep. The peepers
have a new song their humming,
a melody wrapped around
the tribes of old Ireland,
something with fiddles, banjos
and an army of bagpipes,
a drinking song to lament
the passing on of the day.

Bells, like the weight of a drop
fallen some miles, picking
up steam the whole way, screeching
on, on gravity, slowed down
only by the leaf atop
the tallest tree that shimmies
and lets the rain continue
on its way, leaving behind
a ping, imperceptible
to the ear. As a couple
we would have left unfulfilled
all the angst and the longing
that has led us to happy
places, to a domestic
and educated living.
The water falling on key
only reminds me how much
those undecided days mean.
What was it you said to me
with your azure ocean eyes,
we shall be burned, lifted up,
and tossed down again, again.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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