Words Never Ending and other poems
par Doug Tanoury
Words Never Ending
A Wedding Wish For Stacey
There was a time once
In the smallness of new beginnings
Where every heartbeat brought new wonder
And each day uncomplicated joy.
I wish these gifts of childhood to you,
Just as I feel them now,
As I see you flower- like and
Wrapped in white blossoms.
In my chest this instant,
Coursing through a cloverleaf-
Of arteries and the figure- eights
Of blood vessels,
Intertwining and wrapping their way
About my heart, like snakes on a caduceus,
Is the sure and certain knowledge that only
The pure certainty of love in us
Is undying and eternal.
So it will be this moment,
Here in this church,
That will stay with us forever and you will
Hear me whispering for a lifetime,
My lips endlessly forming these words,
Just above a Bach concerto playing
Sweetly in the background,
And you will remember
The little bits of us
That never die
My shirts In the laundry hamper, Their arms folded across the chest In the contrite pose of monks Filing into vespers.
Understanding is a creative act,
And like all such things, I suppose,
Only comes of its own volition,
Seeming quite arbitrary and
Wholly independent of one’s self.
I would venture to say
It is something that happens to us
For recently I too have fallen prey
To an understanding that I have managed to
Elude for an entire lifetime.
Anger gives way slowly and
Ever so reluctantly, as hard feelings
And old hurts soften somewhat.
Jagged edges are worn smooth
Like rocks along the river.
Like the first warm day of February That melts the last of winter ice
On the lake and thaws the frozen earth
Along its shore.
Sometimes I wake from a sound sleep
And wonder if I have died, for I rise effortless
And seem more to float than to lift myself
From my bed and the house
Is a silent as a tomb must be.
I must remind myself that death is uninterrupted
But sleep is not and a glance at the clock which reveals
It is slightly after 1:00 a.m.
It is as if when my death comes
I will somehow be unaware of my passing
And it will be somehow unbeknownst to me
And revealed as an unexpected surprise.
The story will be recounted
With all the per functionary phrases and
Obligatory exclamations :
"Honest, I was minding my own business
And all of a sudden I was mortified."
In the hallway, somewhere between the
Bedroom and the kitchen, the words of
A Gospel comes to mind :
"He who loves his life will lose it and
He who hates his life will find it."
I whisper them through the darkness,
Like a chant, an incantation :
"I hate my life.
I hate my life.
I hate my life."
It was sometime ago,
Before my life became a short story
Written by Gogol,
That I was afraid of the dark and
Would often sleep with the light on
And the television playing some
Black and white movie starring
Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney
Into the early hours of the morning,
So that snip-its of the dialog
Would drift eerily into my dreams.
Somehow, I have become Freddie Bartholomew
And Spencer is speaking to me :
"Wha you tink a dat, leetle feesh ?"
I have come to understand
That the only way to fight fear
Is to whole heartily embrace it,
To make it your friend.
Now, I love the darkness, relish its peace
And wrap myself in it. Yes, I wear it
Like a new Brooks Brothers suit.
I spend the evenings sitting in the house
With every light extinguished
And emanating only darkness.
When I sleep the television is off
And it is quiet except for the dialog
In my dreams, spoken in the little boy voice
Of Freddie Bartholomew :
"Manuel, please, please don’t go !"
In the supermarket
Where navel oranges are stacked high
With great precision
Like the great pyramid of Gaza,
And Santa Rosa plums
Form a lesser monument
For a more mediocre monarch
In The Valley of the Kings.
I am the jackal-faced god,
A duster of old bones
And petrified flesh,
Who breathes the desert air
At 5:00 a.m. and peers wearily
Over the meat counter,
For a fleeting glimpse
Of the floating head
Of Queen Nefertiti
In hopes her regal gaze
Will fall on my English cut roast.
Awake Osiris to the sound
Of the Nile’s water
And sea birds calling from the reeds
To catch the gleam of light
On stainless steel countertops
For it is the deli meats
Hanging in long strands from the ceiling,
Indeed it is the garlic bologna and hard salami
That unites the upper and lower kingdoms.
© Doug Tanoury / Organdi 2000-2007