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What the singer hears

What the singer hears as she
sings, she hears from behind
the song as the violinist hears it
from behind the violin, like a
substitute for tearful, powerful
lovers so deep, like a substitute for
unbearably sad and hateful things,

as she tortures herself and
she tortures me, in a language both
conventional and arbitrary that
brightly compels her feverish mystery
We mistake the tools of destiny for
the results, stated problems for their
solutions, that reality of people and

things in an underground,
conventional crush and he hates every
kind of goodbye because when anything
finishes he knows he’ll die
We think suffering’s contingent and
except for our bad luck every
sad loss would be different

Where she goes chaos is home,
the woolly world of people and things,
destiny’s incomprehensibility
I stare down the street because she
said she’d be here any moment now,
she said so, any moment, multiple
Mona Lisas smeared over in white

From behind the song, energy,
emotion, agitation, messiness
We control what we can and that’s
struggle enough, like a bitter
residue of bashed dreams
She doesn’t come, so this is how
it ends, it ends in her absence

The rain won’t touch her
the cold can’t assail her, like the
pain within her, determined to
maim her, life’s misery and loss
“Something’s going to get me
Don’t know what it is
Don’t know when” and the song:

The rivers will have no water
The earth will no longer yield green
The fields will yield no corn
Animals, deprived of fresh grass
will die, fertile and forgetful earth
will end in fire, its surfaces burnt
to tinder as its shifty surfaces burn

“We’re six people and a baby
to feed, but the baby don’t eat much”
Stasis and balance, creative
compulsions, alienations brought
on in rash colors and suffused with
depths because this quest requires our
scars, our broken hearts, our damage

-November 17, 2018-