Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Speaking Walls

He runs his fingers down the walls,
reading the marks he cannot see in this dim light.
Not even torches are allowed here,
far below the ruins of the City of Pillars.
The stone is roughened by time and
the slow encrustations of lime, and by something more.

Tasting the bumps, grooves, spirals, he closes his eyes.
walls speak softly now, and he must listen hard,
the smooth bumps, rough bumps, grooved ridges,
and, his fingers sliding up again,
he now finds depths he could not at first perceive:
three different kinds of roughness on the delicate
traceries tickle his fingers:
complexity enough for language,
and perhaps that's what it is, but it reminds him
of a printed circuit, or a vinyl disk, reproduced in stone.

He shuffles slowly, shielding his head against
roof pendants,
left hand caressing the nighted stone,
the wall whispers, his fingers tingle
like they're falling asleep,
he imagines words tapped out against his moving fingers
whispers, kisses: walls talk and fingers listen.

The walls pass on into the mountain beneath
the ruined citadel, the passage turns, branches, reverses course,
and his fingers follow,
seduced by the silent song of stone.

Breathe. colors spark from his hand,
coalesce into undulating, sensuous shapes,
that move ahead of him, beckoning him further into
stygian night stained with pyrotechnic smoke.
tentacles of color wrap around his head,
he can almost feel them,
his eyes are closed.

The colors define a shape that seems familiar--
somehow suggests a woman,
though don't men see women in everything?
a girl, at least, of rainbow smoke,
her misty outline shifting, swirling, staining the dark air
like dye in a glass,
but holding to its essence.

She tugs his head, her misty hair clouding his face.
he smells her now: something faint that cuts the odor
of damp cave mold, something that cannot be here in the dark.
her lips move, whispering. "don't open your eyes."
she whispers secrets in a tongue he almost knows,
she cups his ears, pulls him to her, kisses him with lips of smoke
that jolt him to his toes.
his eyes fly open.
he stands in utter darkness,
fingers in a jagged crack,

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