NOISE SEEPING INTO THE SILENCE
Noise seeping into the silence.
The apartment groans, cracks it knuckles.
The gas furnace flares, a poppy, a matchbook,
and as things heat up, the tin pipes
keep making spasmodic rimshots on the drums,
then cooling off, you can hear
the last heavy, ripe drops of rain
on a metal roof with no walls
as he imagines it, somewhere in Burma
where the bacteria have such an appetite for life
they eat books down to the spine
and the glue that binds them
like a creekbed of milky honey
that’s cracked with use and time.
And all the letters of all the words,
nothing but flies in amber paperweights.
You take the dirty laundry of a life time
and you wash the blood and semen
off the sheets, the sweat-stained outlines
of a he and a she that made lust
to exhaust themselves and go to sleep
like the chalk silhouettes of two corpses on the street.
And you hang them on the line
like a computer screen blowing in the wind
on a sunny summer afternoon
for the neighbours to see
how much like them you are
when you’re both wearing the same disguise
like clean bedsheets with no evidence of life.
A tabla rasa. A cheery white void.
Snow on a desolate sidewalk late at night
that no one’s walked in before you
showed up to ruin it with your presence.
Footprints on the moon. The estranged signs
of a starless space within
that keeps a journal of our innocence
and its aborted attempts to shine.
He watches the smoke of a cigarette
shaped by the air it passes through
and thinks of the bucolated cosmology
of his last lover’s hair, black walnut
with Bronze Age touches of infra-red.
He remembers her taking her clothes off
in master strokes of candlelight
that painted a Rembrandt of her likeness
and realizes however naked
she stood before him on Wednesday night,
there were still skins to shed,
layers upon layers of metaphor
as divisible as an atom
or the pages of a book
that’s written in wavelengths
that go on forever
beginning where they left off.
And even nude beside each other in bed
they were still too dressed up for the occasion.
And even the silence and the solitude
don’t go far enough into the abyss
not to be warped like space
by the mass of a metaphor
concentrating its light in one place
like a serpent sleeping in its coils
with its head on the pillow it makes
of the endless wavelengths of itself,
an emergency firehose encased in glass
dreaming of what snakes dream of
when they’re not called upon to put things out
by swallowing the moon in a single gulp
to bring the rain on
in this white Sahara of snow,
listening like a mirage
that wished it had something to cry about,
to the eyes of big rain drops
falling on the tin roofs of Burma
like a gas furnace
learning to play the drums
like a novice John Bonham
in Led Zeppelin’s next afterlife
in the dead of winter,
in the dark hours of the morning
in Perth, Ontario, Canada
in an apartment that thinks it’s a band
doing a sound check before the show.