Tag Archives: The Sounds Now

Jorge Sánchez

Jorge Sánchez earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. Many journals have published his work including: Poetry, Iowa Review, Indiana Review, and Crab Orchard Review. He teaches and writes in Chicago where he lives with his wife and son. 

 

The Poet

          after Richard Wilbur

Like all things parental, it bolts
from never-thought-of to sitting down-
at-the-kitchen-table: as I put
away the dishes and put dinner on,
my son sits writing a poem dictated
to his mother. The poem, like all
poems, deals with the inscrutable,
the indecipherable; namely, why
his father loves spaceships, a love
born of six year-olds living in Florida
a few hours south of Cape Canaveral,
a love nurtured as I grew older, one
that still lives, if not as love,
then as that coal an early, flippant
lover lit and blew on, returning
from time to time as a nostalgic,
earnest contentment. His poem
is a rambling set of questions,
not so different from my poems,
attempting to build a bridge over
everyday confusions and blockages.
I am where so many have been before me,
before him: I wish him safe-passage.
Yet there is something hopeless
in his poem and in this poem and all
poems, a sense of the abiding distance
amid proximity. And yet, a hope that the bridge
will stand, the line will hold, the words
will fall on the fertile ground of our beloved,
so that distances shrink with our hands
extending and the only way around it
is the repeated question, the pencil moving
across the page according to a voice, the hand
holding that pencil, gently, always writing
what amounts to a love note, or a letter home.

 

The Sounds Now

No longer the singing of the chop saw,
Now thunder. Now rock salt.
The blue benison of the grey haze
of the roadside slush. In that moment,
when the blue-gray of a winter roadside
slides along memory to some
summer carpenter on a back deck,
I remember how much of us is sound,
syllable yielding to syllable
the way a line forgotten becomes
a line unescaped when the scrape
of a taxi over the speedbump
becomes a chiasmus for the slow,
fingertip-by-fingertip reconnaissance
of a cabbage, a guitar, a lover.
How much of us is memory, broiled
steak in the bleak mid-winter a feast
of recollection: the campsite above
the lake, the heavy grate over fire pit,
the squeaky, creaky Army-truck-green
water pump. And the harmony
of senses that seem to be more us
than us: the fragrance of aspens
in a courtyard in Berkeley in March
a catapult to a Roman side street in July
a decade ago, the street’s shady nave
of impossibly tall trees on a slight slope,
and when asked, a local in the courtyard
replies that the smell is that of blooming
jasmine above the door so red in the dark.