Phenomenology of intermissions

In the theatre’s half-dark

That interregnum between
idle chatter and the opening bars

Whatever comes as purposeful

beginning Lyric investigation
of parts traditionally difficult

to observe in plain sunlight

Before the floodlights dim
I catch your eye

Which is the moment I am returned

to myself How do we learn to possess
what flutters under the rim

of the breastbone Learn

the name of a feeling that folds
into itself on its side A lunar

wind that passes through fingers

Do you also feel a pang A gleam
A metal clapper before the actual event

It holds out a coal of kindness

that serves to formalize
mourning And sometimes I want

to lay my head on a pillow

of snow— Think of the cold
Its crystalline dendrites

little forests springing up

over the head, descending into a thin
treeline feathering each eye Everything

in ceremony is gestural— the smallest

movement from the wrist signifying either
a wave or the passage of time One day

or a decade A century What are we asked

to hold for as long as we can in one
position on a low tufted cushion Do you see

how the wound opens and opens each time

you tell me of your sadness
Which is that there are things

I will never be able to lift What hovers

like clouds over pale shoulders I want to cry
out into some wilderness just out of reach

Near enough to perceive its habit of desolation

~ after Remedios Varo, “Star Catcher

1 Comment


  1. The title immediately grabbed my attention. Phenomenology is such a powerful idea – and the idea of doing it on the spaces between seemingly more significant things is powerful too. I’ve a feeling it’s going to keep going round in my head for while, in a good way!

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