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Poetry by Suzanne Scarfone


Walking in Sound


     for Demetrius, a quiet place

everyone is walking
around full of stories
about life
all those chests
going up and
each a place to start
and a place to end
there is so much
so much space to
get through on
the way home
from war
from losing sight
from visiting
the old
from getting
some days it's
all I can do
to wash my
and socks
to stop and think
of bread and clocks
and drink
for days in my
dreams I've heard
that somewhere
by the pine and
the sea
in a sky of
broken streets
this way for light
and this for dark
where plums fall
from above
there is no past
so no regret
no fear
only the same
quiet of peace
turned inward
a soul there streams
on soundlessly
over the anemone
the lichen
the lapis and
the quartz
as I take your
hand and


Walking in Sound
          Life is pleasant.  Life is good.  Virginia Woolf, The Waves

A simple life is not quiet
Take an August afternoon
on a street near your home
tumbling red roses
sap rushing everywhere and
birds telling tales in trees
going on and on and on and on
a blue river seems to swoon
between the clouds
people breathe in a house
a dog twitches
once or twice a lost soul
rustles the curtains looking
for a way in or out
as the dead do when it's hot
all the seas in the world twirl
swirl around you
and then there's the roaring
spin of the earth
you have to press a palm flat
on your chest and jump
into the regular thud of yourself
the children next door look up
mouths open
sighing at something
as you walk home
in the summer air
a grotto of sound
irregular and
sings to you
all the way


          …the year span round/With giddy motion.
William Wordsworth

I haven't looked like myself
for a long time
a kind of unblinking startled look
surprises my blue eyes
I seem worn and alone
but you have never stared into
a mirror

for twelve years it's been
one colorful paradise
it's not hard to sleep
and you don't need to remember
your dreams
roses and fields
and melon leaves
and lemons on counters
show up everywhere
and sometimes the day
sweats into a peach-tinged
mist where the sun
bleeds pink through the icy sky
and melts into an ocean wet
with other inky lives
you taste crumbling sugar in everything
you eat and real joy
is noisy and painted
and windy
riding a bike at night
and walking by yourself with
nowhere in mind
and answering the spinning
and reeling of your body
with yelps
and jumps
and when I talk you don't hear me
only the drumming insistence
of your heart and flesh
the sounds of your boyhood
pull you into the urgency
of breathing and
and moving
but lately you seem to sense
that maybe I do not live
in this same whirl and
that's why I talk so much more than you
and your desire
to run and run and
never come back
seems frantic

will it be that tomorrow
morning you
slowly wake
pale and warm
and wrap yourself in the white
worn blanket
and look into the mirror
and stand still
and say
"I do not look like myself"
and without raising your yellow-
blue eyes ask
"do I"

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