Friday, August 12, 2011

Another ace PSF!

"You put a ape mask on me, I disembowel you. Just so we understand each other"

If you said "Nice day," he would look up
at the three clouds riding overhead,
nod at each, and go back to doing what-
ever he was doing or not doing.
If you asked for a smoke or a light,
he'd hand you whatever he found
in his pockets: a jackknife, a hankie --
usually unsoiled -- a dollar bill,
a subway token. Once he gave me
half the sandwich he was eating
at the little outdoor restaurant on La Guardia Place. I remember
a single sparrow was perched on the back
of his chair, and when he held out
a piece of bread on his open palm,
the bird snatched it up and went back to
its place without even a thank you,
one hard eye staring at my bad eye
as though I were next. That was in May
of '97, spring had come late,
but the sun warmed both of us for hours
while silence prevailed, if you can call
the blaring of taxi horns and the trucks
fighting for parking and the kids on skates
streaming past silence. My friend Frankie
was such a comfort to me that year,
the year of the crisis. He would turn
up his great dark head just going gray
until his eyes met mine, and that was all
I needed to go on talking nonsense
as he sat patiently waiting me out,
the bird staring over his shoulder.
"Silence is silver," my Zaydee had said,
getting it wrong and right, just as he said
"Water is thicker than blood," thinking
this made him a real American.
Frankie was already American,
being half German, half Indian.
Fact is, silence is the perfect water:
unlike rain it falls from no clouds
to wash our minds, to ease our tired eyes,
to give heart to the thin blades of grass
fighting through the concrete for even air
dirtied by our endless stream of words.

13 comments:

Alex said...

This one really grabs me, Ramon. Is it a part of something bigger, or is it meant to stand alone?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Stand alone, Alex old chum.

I particularly like

Fact is, silence is the perfect water:
unlike rain it falls from no clouds

wari lasi said...

It's very good. I like the title too.

His style is interesting. More like a rythmic narrative than what I'd traditionally expect from poetry. But that's just me.

What does Squib think I wonder?

Alex said...

That and the next line was my favourite bit too, Ramon. (It kind of makes me feel better about being a non-talker as well)

Wari, I'd also like to know what our resident poet makes of it.

squib said...

It's alright. Bit prosaic for my tastes but keeps good rhythm and kicks in nicely near the end. The picture caption, on the other hand, is gold

Kettle said...

Ramonski, is that actually your cat? Looks bad-arse if it is.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

She is indeed the family cat, Kettle.

She muscled her way in as a stray some years ago and has declined to leave.

Kettle said...

I've always wanted to be claimed by a cat. I guess it won't happen as long as we keep living on the second floor of an apartment building; not much chance for cats to stumble across me.

Ramon this is a great poem. Like you and Alex, my favourite bit is the bit about silence. I often think about silence, and what a shame it is that there's so much emphasis put on teaching kids how to socialise, to be with other kids, to talk, talk, talk.

Here's to silence, intermittent or sustained.

Alex said...

Bad-arse, indeed. I imagine putting an ape-mask on her would go something like this* (except Ramon may not be able to breath fire, I dunno).

*Those with data caps be advised that whole movie (if you let it load) ~300MB.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I've always wanted to be claimed by a cat

You can have mine, if you like Kettle.

Just don't put an ape mask on her.

Mr E Discharge said...

Ramon,
Thank you for the introduction
to Mr.Levines work. I hadn't heard of him before, but have read a bunch of his stuff since this post.

Many thanks.

His views on Silence struck a chord with me. Ever since I sold my property in Olinda, I have missed the silence, now. sometimes I can hardly sleep under the constant roar of the city, while enjoying the benefits of living in a town like Melbourne, I still miss the silence.

I particularly enjoyed his poem "Gin". Which brought back memories of a company I ran in the 1980's whose official company motto was "Gin gives you a sore Cunt".

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

You're welcome Mr E.

I try and make the PSFs interesting.

Alex said...

Ramon, I would like to echo everything that Mr E has said here.

...except for the "sore cunt" business. Mr E, did "Gin" by any chance stand for "genital infection something", or did you simply strike upon the lousiest way imaginable to market a beverage?