The woman in the cafe wearing red lipstick that matches her red boatneck sweater under a grey raincoat says, The poet is someone who is more a voice overheard, not speaking directly. Not spoken to, of, for. If I hold my head like this, if I hold my head perfectly still, if I hold my head aslant. There is a whiff of a voice that curls from the next table like a wisp of cigarette smoke, though smoking has been banned from restaurants and other such public places. Slide a white porcelain cup filled with hot coffee across the oily film of the counter. Run a fingernail across the velvet-covered upholstery and everything is still there: summer’s burnt caramel and diesel, morning’s toast; sriracha, lemon drop, partly sucked licorice whip. Above the curtains I can watch the sun move through a sky shorn of wildness, which is what some might mean when they say untrammeled. She is right, then. About lyric being a form of lilting paraphrase. Shorthand written in pencil, never ink. Code produced by the faithful stenographer. Careful. A stroke in the wrong place makes unintended meaning. But more, also. If it is spare, it prepares for tenderness. At least, the promise of a listening.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.