Wish I could take back
everything I’ve ever said —
each word, ill timed grunt,
sigh in passion, moan of distress.
It’s language that has cut
all my crops down, set the fires
in each of my villages.
If I’d just been silent,
things would have been different.
But I just had to do this. Had
to open my big fat mouth. Had to
make a whole series of noises
and call them art, say I was
seeking beauty, truth, that
folderol; forgot that a stone has beauty
on its own without making a sound,
reveals truth when hurled through
a window; the noise you hear then
doesn’t come from the stone
that lands mutely on the castle floor.
Wish I’d stayed silent. It’s done me
little good not to be. It’s made me
want to sit with a glued-up mouth
on my scorched earth till I’m gone.
People say I owed it to them, to the earth,
to be this, to make noise, to rumble
like a damn volcano, tweet like a bird.
What I owed myself, they tell me,
is unimportant. It’s the artist’s just fate
to disappear into their hollering,
happily or not. I say no, then say
no more. Be here that way till I’m not.