Lepanto (im Cy Twombly)
It’s a wake of sorts: procession passing,
scrim of dream, blazon of nightmare.
The battle is over; all that’s left scattered gifts:
driftwood limbs, blood stains diluted on the tide.
The wounded carry their wounds always, visible
and invisible, sharp as sea-spray flung in the eyes.
The composite bow of time unleashes its quiver
of arrows in sudden and fearful velocity.
The ooze of history seeps between our toes
as the sea swirls up at the lip of the shore.
Rocks of longing and loss, wilder shores of love,
fill the horizon with boats, each its own sunset.
A stigmata of blisters blossoms on our palms, our
oars dipping, sparkles surfacing, fish leaping.
Rowing against the tide our strokes carry us
ever nearer to the elusive coast of Bohemia.
4’ 33” by John Cage
I used to listen to it regularly
in the dentist’s waiting room.
It would always start slowly:
a gentle slither and flick
of magazine pages accompanied
by the counterpoint of the distant
ringing of a telephone. I always
waited with constricted breath
to the sustained high notes
of the dentist’s drill that would
hang in the air shrill as Valkyries
advancing. The rhythm section
was provided by the urgent
syncopated beat of trains on the
railway line across the street.
But it always ended on the mezzo
sprechgesang of the dental nurse
‘We’re ready for you now.’