Void Existence

This is a poem that is groundless
And without adornments, the lines
Expertly spaced like plain boards
As though they weren’t there at all.
The poem levels the surroundings
Without drawing attention
To either remoteness or proximity.
You aren’t distracted by pretense
And breathe evenly over the boards,
Going through one door to another,
Sure of your steps, unconcerned,
Even taking the art for granted
By not inspecting its craft,
Remembering only later in traffic,
The peace of such a pure house.

Can There Be Enough Music

When music is silent
People are dancing
When people are silent
Blight is consensual
When truth is silent
Havoc is raging
When wind is silent
Storms are mounting
When thunder is silent
Light is imploding
When waves are silent
Distance is singing
When stones are silent
Earth is trembling
When fire is silent
Water is burning
When rain is silent
Hunger and thirst
When music is silent
Madness is shrill
When stars are silent
The hum is silent
When God is silent
Can there be enough music

The Invisible Woman

The woman begging in the cold,
The woman in second-hand clothes
With tattoos on vanishing skin,
The woman who disappears into denial,
Whose makeup runs with tears,
Who pierces her face with pain,
Who wears unseen depression
On the face of her loneliness.
She’s also the woman hate creates
With all her races and refugees.
The woman who dies
In abuse like Pagliacci’s Nedda.
All we know is surface tragedy.
The woman can be Muslim,
Her veil, a less vulgar place;
Her blind, a global face.
There are more invisible women
Who disappear without names,
Who suffer every indignity,
Who wear identity like a disguise
To distance what debases them.
Far away the invisible woman,
Far away the sum of her parts,
The aura of her being,
Growing fainter are the stars,
The milk of the moon,
The thread of life, the multiplicity,
The meaning of the earth,
The mother who covers her children
With the skirts of her garment.

Summer Light in Winter

Like summer frozen in winter
Summer light on a winter day.
It looks warm and masquerades
As gentles breezes with an icy edge.
It is summer somewhere else
Wafting through our zero weather.
It is bright enough for memory
To cast the shade of summer
And thaw coldness for a spell,
Awakening the atmosphere
For what transience dispels.
Some life enters the skin.
Some memento melts the air.
The glow lingers into dusk
Wearing a garment of snow.
The fullest hour floods with light.

Mathematical Fallacy

Salvatore Ala

for Michael

In my sixtieth autumn, insoluble leaves,
Like more numbers than moonlight can double,
Like migrations unnumbered by time,
Like a windfall of division equal to shade,
Like a rainfall washing out its arithmetic.
In my sixtieth autumn, insoluble leaves,
Like the natural numbers of the sun,
Like the reckoning of the cold,
Like decimals enumerating the wind.
In my sixtieth autumn, the aftermath,
Impossible computations of fate,
False answers and recalculations,
Estimated losses and constant of love
On the road to my own insoluble solution.

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