Chiaroscuro

Chiaroscuro

I recently had to write the yearbook letter for my graduating 5th grade class. Though I love to write, in general–mostly because I’m not that great at speaking but always have a lot to say–the prospect of translating the internal world… to words… with a deadline is very daunting. I work with one singular inspiration at a time, turning it into an accurate communicative sentiment. Then I have to walk away until I feel something enough to dispense another chunk. This takes a while. So I decided to write my students a poem. It was a surprisingly successful solution! And now I plan to do that more often… whenever I am lost for writing moxie, which I often am. Poetry will save me. Because it doesn’t have to make sense. So–here I go.

What holds you in a place doesn’t fit in your hand in utility, or steady your footing

It may be there briefly in passing but lingering in the periphery–the composition in endless slideshows

casting a white glow to the edges of various structures, smoothing them in the instance you might want to touch them.

But you don’t.

They seem to be for you, the shades you would hope to see melding peacefully, in defined buoyant puffs–chiaroscuro.

Under which–all, but hidden. Like wild animals watching the lesser wild pass amidst their unhoned, complicated instincts

New rules. For inaction. New ways. To do nothing.

You’re oxidizing on the shore of Industry City prior to a development boom.

You stare while it’s there, convinced that you can and will hold it all sharply and alive, still, after you walk away.

Like falling in love with the rush air in your lung sacs, because it was near or within the vicinity of this place.

Carrying pieces off like a dignified, well-intended looter. You have your reasons. Though unreasonable they are.

In the distance, from here, it looks as you would want it, each angle to your specs.

Like how you imagined

after you saw it.

Enhanced in recollection. All its caprices, rationalized, cited, checked and utilized for your needs. Tools we are, all.

For each other’s purposes. The loves we need.

It is almost shocking to learn the width of its wing span, the line of symmetry I may touch to trace

glanced upon transiently; feigning neutrality and civility, blinked away in sharp flutters like quavering speech

Rigged pipework by an unskilled apprentice who doesn’t close his mouth enough to ever learn.

They suspend in Earthen elements though covered in unearthen plastics,

coated in an inferior insulation, insultingly easy I penetrate.

But a pleasure

to surrender

to that which you cannot control.

Chemical equations, lunar cycles, mayflowering, the deep tucking away of winter

Excuses or explanations.

It’s out of our hands.