poemimage

Where text meets image. Where the visual intersects the literary.

Month: March, 2012

Orpheus, Eurydice, Hermes by Rainer Maria Rilke

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Background Singers We Never Knew by Steven McCabe

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Soaking you up like a sponge

A background singer’s nightingale voice warbles

“Sha-la-la”

Drying you like driftwood

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Filming in Kabul, farming in Haiti,

Finally divorced in Montreal, a little cabaret

Here and there

Getting along

Getting older, getting greyer

A freighter docking in the fog

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 The voice you were in love with

“Do-wah do-wah”

Swoops and dips beneath a bridge

The brightest carnation in the lead singer’s jacket

Transmitted with static

Her voice spotlights the background –

A medieval painting exhausting perspective

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The freighter crashes into a support

The bridge buckles

That beautiful song by the girl-group on the oldies station

Dissolves into chaos

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You spread her legs

She hears the bridge collapse

“Doo-lang doo-lang”

Her mouth a half-hidden oval

Cloaking you with hope

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Before Giotto or double-tracked stacked vocals

Or stone Buddhas in Afghanistan

Somebody discovered that wee spot

Where the Big Bang originated

Unlocking all of the voices sea-to-sea

“La-la-la” and “Shooby-shooby-do”

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The background singers we never knew

Growing in strength and volume

And you betray the one you wanted

With an ice-age princess

Wearing an obsidian necklace

Lifting her hands wet with menstrual blood

Bleating into the moon’s aureole

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In the still of the night a starburst of wonder preserved

An eye within the word seeing sound

Everything since shadows that voice

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 Translucent lamentations in three-part harmony

Initiated into the temple of voodoo

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We are the background singers

Filling ourselves with slanted ale

The melody of those we never knew

Swooping in white satin or pink chiffon

Backing the lead singer

Smooth as a gleaming marble column

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Shade cast from pillars washes across the working lips

The unison of singular

“Aahs”

Dipping into a groove

Swooping and sliding

Needles lift

Singles rise

And fall

Free falling

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A collapsed bridge and a cloud of dust

Quieter than your lovemaking/ the soft absence

Of your beloved

You see the moon through a crack of stone

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from Hierarchy of Loss – Ekstasis Editions – 2007