A Poem I Wrote As If My Life Depended On It
by Robert Wexelblatt

All die into silence. All are mustered
into the silent majority. Few get
to utter more than gripes. A sword hangs by
every word. We sweat them like Damocles
gawking at the tantalizing ortolans.

This pen feels better than a hammer just
fit for blows, better than triggers or remote
controls. This pen is even better than a voice
insinuating blandishments and threats.
Gravid with das Wille zur Macht, build-up
of tentative lust, thick with seminal
black ink, the pen balances on my steady
third finger, is driven by the whimsical
index, restrained by an indifferent thumb.
It seems just now the stolid thumb prevails.

Without trees, no woods; without dancers,
no dance. A writer who can’t write is no
writer. Mann spoke for many: A writer
is a person for whom writing is more
difficult than it is for other people.

Dancing’s easy, grins the clutz, as prima
donnas weep and wince with mal de pied.
“I’m listening to Mozart,” we casually
remark, “to Bach,” as though they were here in
the room with us, summoned from unanimous
silence. Voices can be resurrected by
ink spots, performed by those who have the skill
and yearn to hear them. Yet alive, we are
noisy, busy creatures full of want and
wisdom, hunting for steps, for notes, for words.

Humbly we pray that silence shall not have the
last word; might merely be what follows it.

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NC 2011 New Year Edition