Having decided never to be permeable,
separately and young, living
in something more silent.
Not the wind
I hear from inside my hat, and not the steps
I’m taking, nor their sounds,
tearing and clotting on my usual walk,
until finally, stirring upwards, covered in snow or mist or
whichever demonstration of matter
today has presented, he disappears, lit clouds or dust.
He’s bound to if this continues,
that much is clear, and separating further,
so will the sound, the snow,
now a scene.
Becoming a scene, or at least becoming descriptive, and truer, perhaps,
because such simple words are fat enough, titles,
covering the trees and the ground. Fat enough
to have waste and to overlap with themselves and their reference, like the whistling outside
my hat. And there will be a point when, continuing further still, it will make
sense to him to assert the same about the stars,
silently becoming livid, their parts exposed,
and I burn up.
All I could care about was your hand touching me.
The sound and the pressure were the same,
in my car, in the unplowed parking lot, evenly lit, and as such,
shouldn’t be so difficult to reproduce.
Maybe not great for art.
Latching the door, missing the way cold wears on you,
how you swivel your body against the wind,
trying to see through it, towards the fluttering, tossed-about leaf,
like paper being burned, curled and small and weak,
resisting becoming so.
How am I to present this? The perfect
shapes are too small, their meaning always blurred,
whether closer or further back, never
an army. The truer moment,
the one I want to hold on to, encased in real silence,
as he is now, walking,
furious at the waning light which keeps the colors
perfect every single hour, on the trees and on the ground, is
between him and them and tomorrow
I’ll have to write something new.
So, settling on this imperfect matter as ideal, always blurred, but
embracing it, he sets about inserting it, providing
a lip to catch all the blood.
We weren’t each other’s audience that night, but, just as the
evenly spaced halogen suggested, and the polystyrene
melting on your big hat, your hair
getting caught in our mouths when kissing, your
wearing too much makeup, your remaining
unaware of how cold it was
outside my car,
under the stars,
with which, from our distance,
whether turning clockwise
or counterclockwise, we made a meaningful axis.
And in these paper-lined boxes, nearly empty
but expanding and loud,
tiled with wrinkles in incredible relief,
uncurling into tiny ellipses, each of them,
filling up with snow.
First few minutes of my newest piece…
At present, squire of a sour country with a sober sky, I try to be touched by the memory of a childhood spent begging, of apprenticeship or my arrival in wooden shoes, of polemics, of five or six widowings, and several wedding parties where my obstinate head prevented me from rising to the fever pitch of my pals.
Dull sublunary lovers’ love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, ‘cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.
But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.
- John Donne, from A Valediction Forbidding Mourning
Maeve O’Hara (violin I, Singing), Kenneth Trotter (Violin II, Sneezing, Singing), Naseer François DeLevo Ashraf (Viola, Singing), Molly Aronson (Cello, Singing)
Written in the Spring of 2012, premiered at the Neuberger Museum of Art.
Written for the Purchase Symphony Orchestra - Winter 2012
Premiered February 24, 2012 - Guillermo Figueroa, Conductor
The land wasn’t immediately appealing; we built it
Partly over with fake ruins, in the image of ourselves:
An arch that terminates in mid-keystone, a crumbling stone pier
For laundresses, an open-air theater, never completed
And only partially designed. How are we to inhabit
This space from which the fourth wall is invariably missing,
As in a stage-set or dollhouse, except by staying as we are,
In lost profile, facing the stars, with dozens of as yet
Unrealized projects, and a strict sense
Of time running out, of evening presenting
The tactfully folded-over bill? And we fit
Rather too easily into it, become transparent,
Almost ghosts. One day
The birds and animals in the pasture have absorbed
The color, the density of the surroundings,
The leaves are alive, and too heavy with life.
—- John Ashbery, from Pyrography