A WOMAN’S VOICE SEEPING OUT OF THE WINDOWS LIKE A FRAGRANCE
A woman’s voice seeping out of the windows like a fragrance
of melodic fire in the rain, her song wavering in and out
of earshot over the hissing of cars, the percussive water.
But one heart resonates with another like echoes
in a big room trying not to make a grand entrance
on a stage designed for petty exits. The sorrow true,
the joy in life unanticipated, and the mystery
of being human to suffer and rejoice in the awareness
of both, an alloy of the worst and the best made stronger
by the oxymoron than either alone, or a bridge
between opposites like a nose in the middle of your eyes.
The lyrics might be blurred like watercolours
smudged by weeping, but the hues of the sound are clear,
and dusk is sitting in the front row of the dawn
with a backstage pass to the apartment across the street,
practising for a Thursday night gig at O’Reilly’s
among the clinking of beer bottles and the clatter of spoons
where the orchids dress up to cheat on the dandelions.
Still, it’s the solitude of the music that will touch
their wounds tenderly as if she were putting a finger
softly to their lips and saying hush now for a moment
and listen to the beauty of your own silence
taking compassion on what hurts you the most,
as if the ghost that was summoned by her music
had come to you privately with a cure for an absentee heart
in harmony with the perfect timing of the rain.
The medium is not the message and the word for it
isn’t experience, though you can’t separate the moon
from its lacustrian reflection on the broad waters of life.
The distinction is as valid as a keyhole in an open door.
A gate that doesn’t even shut out those who won’t walk
through it to see that even their fear of shadows
is rooted in their own starmud like the eyes of strange jewels
that shine in the dark like shy nightbirds in the audience.
The stars whisper offstage to your eyes not to be afraid
of your own radiance, or the chromatic range
of your rainbow refractions unlocking your voice
like an aviary that just let all the bats and butterflies
peacocks, crows, hermit thrushes, nightingales and doves out,
o and the great blue herons, the Canada geese, the killdeer
and quail, and the threnodies of the waterbirds I don’t know
the names of but only have to listen to know they mourn
like fire on the water to judge from the wild asters
of the autumn in her voice that burns like fireflies
in the eyes of the rain, then smoulders like wet cedar
before breaking into stars like sparks in the hay
of the scarecrow dancing with a phoenix in the flames
of a torch singer bound like a heretic of joy to the stake
of a microphone in the high fields she’s setting afire
with her voice, then putting them out in the tears
of the music in her heart like soft chandeliers of rain.
The words we put to our sorrows are as wayward as joy
or the hidden nightcreeks following their own melody lines
like the distant whispers of ghosts through the woods
that will return them to their graves like the mists of the morning
when the sun comes out, soon enough, soon enough
like the glare of the lights after last call as the singers
pack their black coffins like scratched guitars
with scars on their voices even the stars can’t lip synch
without their reflections burning like bridges
in the lyrics of life waterclocking like windows in the rain
you can hear singing all the way down the block
as the music blooms like waterlilies in the gutters of the moon.