So here I lurch outside and leave
the movie but this switch inside
stays on. And still it goes: a King
asks his private ballerina
for a “simple loss
of memory.”
Over and over his voice
drones on like a nagging
self-improvement tape
for people who regret
their own music.
Who regret their own sons.
Who shun their own daughters.

But nag’s not right, here,
no: nag is, too, a lie.
Even a King’s voice has a true
need to ignite its moment.
To burn for so to breathe.
To clench and unclench.
To talk to me, to stay
alive, a little more.

Believe me. King.
Inside me, or out the other
side of time, somewhere, I
would talk to you. But. You
just scat back at me like a nutty
cube of ouch, alone
in one gray lobe: “Hey, make a
holler to the next lobe, down
the block a’ways and still,
always, already relative.
But to what?”

…..And still I catch you croonin’:
“baby-baby.” And still
you make that same unkingly whine: “don’t
wanna’ know the old face.” Behind the
same face, newly burnished with jive
gravitas like yet another glass stone
in your tiara. So over and over, so very
by now: it’s our own common voice looping
back at us on the dream telephone.

But here, again, inside me, I still listen.
Like a synapse in the mouth of dream
body’s memory, barely breathing, through
mudras of pulse, space, motion, mask,
cadence, dark, gesture, resonance,
pressure, light, gathering and release,
right here, I listen, as ghosts
will have their due, o my King,
my vacant son, o my unbending
daughter, to you,
to your final riddle:

if thoughts are born with blood and lungs, and even grace refuses balance, if we all move room to room, unmoored, in our own tectonic currents …

if right here is not the hyperspace of a new social ontology, if this story is not the story of a true star, and terror not the oldest thing clanging inside our heads,
but, maybe, the loudest …

Would Zeami still call this version the Flower of Stillness?

Or just a skin of words, a book of buried shadows, dry husk of memory, a “walk on the roof of hell”?

“And whose hand is this that has never died?”

© 2017, John Sullivan

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