Theme in Variegation [3 poems]

“Sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who have never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words”

Addie Bundren, As I  Lay Dying,

William Faulkner


1: A Space to Fill a Lack


More to be,

what I repeat

is not what

I am.


What I think

I become

is not what I

come to have been . . .


Not to be is not

to be––

whenever I am,

I am not . . .


What I become . . .


words alone are nearly

a lone.


What we say

we have said,

all saying,


I know nothing given

but what is received.


2: Getting Ready to Stay Dead


Leaves in the fall fall–

another kind of tautology–

not exactly how mops mop . . .


Truth beseeches; lies do not.

Lying is action;

Truth is being.


I imagine myself another man;

I imagine you the same woman.

It does not work out.


I feel guiltier and guiltier

in the thickening silence––

I see me the same


With sounds

I have come to be familiar––

I wish I could say


What I know I mean,

the terror in speech––

I imagine you another––


Other than who

you have been . . .

I wish I could say


What should be said

without words,

or so we think


We can imagine

a better world

in silence . . .


Who or what you could come

to be––

what is it I say


About how we are?

In the next wake,

I hold you up.


I stand behind you.

A piece of colored glass,

wave-worn smooth,


Cracked shells are tiny,

all of them spread

in a wide array


On the rough sand

of the surf

beneath my feet.


I skip another stone.

You are,

I say;



I am

[. . .].


3: Another Dark Voicelessness


Wet sands.

Your feet disappearing

in the soft of the sands

below the tumult

of the surf.


I sink

as I try to stand



I watch you

watching them,

the waves.


I see you totter.

You do not stumble as I do

Thinking I want to reach out to you.


Giving is what I receive,

I think I am able

to imagine today,


Another desire

for which I have lost the word

before having found it.


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