Words

Stillness

Stillness is an essential part of movement

just as silence is an essential part of sound

One should not fear slow progress

One should only fear no progress

What does this tell us about the benefit of non-action and silence?

-Lao Tse




The First Page

by Sarah Brindell

It’s always a daunting thing

those lonely initial few words

engulfed in the bleach whiteness

of the paper

Thin lines invite as well as discriminate

In your party of potential catch phrases

that drip wit and seethe poignancy

Don’t say something

meaningless or ignorant

but truthful.

Bring out the truth.

And let’s please silence

that annoying little animal called “fear”,

who is so inclined

to nip at the back

of your muse’s neck

on the first page

of your blank book




Word Stew

by Sarah Brindell

Carrots shape the subjects

Onions, the predicates

Beef enacts the bond

between the phrases.

Now lost: the crisp

initial rawness

of each diced potato

as words meld together

simmer by simmer

into a stew.

How good the seared definitions

and target explanations

begin to taste

as their meanings combine,

cooked phrase-organisms emerge,

and syllables bask

in amalgamated perception.




The Reward

by Sarah Brindell

In this vast undertaking
of dirty laundry and stop lights
of shoveling gray snow and
minding turn signals
of clocks and elevators and planes overhead
when the night finally sprawls
its dark, omniscient cover
and I finish the last dirty dish
set the alarm and crawl
into my own covers
should I be proud of my stealth ability
to handle the steering wheel
in that moment of possible
impending destruction
when I escaped the monster car
that almost made a left into mine earlier today?
What about the time I handed in
the necessary paperwork
at work, even before 3pm?
Or how I gallantly remembered
to buy detergent AND toothpaste at the drug store?
Or the amazing pasta sauce
I created for dinner?
Isn’t that a celebration? An achievement
of great merit? A triumph that deserves
some honorable recognition?

These questions continue to prod at me
until the snow begins tapping
a soft percussive lullaby on the window
and the heavy down of the blanket
circles its gentle arms
smoothing the wrinkle in my brow,
releasing the thick bind of my shoulders,
unshackling my clenched fists
until the bedroom begins to transform,
gracefully bending its walls into a raft
that drifts on an uncharted sea
of languid slumber
and I realize that this instant
this tender letting go of worry
this initiation into blissful dreaming
is my reward




Graffiti

by Sarah Brindell

Working man standing
next to the plane
sun stained
I can see him
out the window
wondering what he
mighta been
as he loads the baggage
and takes a
small break
to stare
at the horizon
in the distance
it says:
“South San Francisco International”
written in perfect
white letters
on the side of the hill
I wonder if this
particular desecration
of the earth would be
considered graffiti
to an unassuming alien
who was just
passing through
on his way
to another dimension




Imperfect Rotation

by Sarah Brindell

The surface of the earth

is not smooth

there are bumps and crevasses,

lumps and fault lines,

peaks, caverns

stark deserts, ample foliage,

oceans lapping up residue

from fallen sky scrapers

scattered candy wrappers,

and roadways so randomly dispersed

without pause for symmetry,

or artistic merit

Down in the muck and sweat

of all this defective beauty,

we tangle together,

climbing the walls

of our own limbs and blankets,

ripe and pungent

as the damp night

cocoons around us

surging and rooted

in a constant rotation




Attempting the Well Tempered Clavier

by Sarah Brindell

Your hands
Grace the piano keys
Like flower stems
Holding the sacred space
Between silence and sound
Fingers tipped like petals,
budding into bloom
I hear the dissonance unfurl
Sometimes slowed by
lack of knowledge
You stop and start in fits
Of slight frustration, but still onward
You tread, a steady motion
Not too fast
“No rushing,” I say
But you are completely lost
in the harmony
unfolding so effortlessly
As if Bach had intended
Just that, no thinking
Only emotion, ethereal oneness
You honor the register
Of the pitches
in the woods of the repetition
But back again
Onto the suspension and final cadence
You glance at me like an imp,
As if to almost gloat
At your feeble attempt
At the masterpiece
Still alive after hundreds of years
I can almost hear Bach laugh out loud
at our mere mortal love







MARCH 1st, 2010


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