Take away the words from poetry, she says,
they step on the toes of rhyme.
Her hair is held back from her face
and shyly skims her shoulders.
Green eye shadow. A line
of kohl – black or grey. Difficult to say!
Her topic for today’s lecture: Timeless poetry.
Gently, hands resting on air currents,
she orders the class.
Now follow the direction of the twilight breeze with your
words. Forget about saying what you want to say.
Hold the breeze, or let it show you
its paths. Why imprint words
upon a thought…?
Turn your back on the cult of expression.
Listen… only listen… close your eyes! Hold
all of yourself at bay.
An owl outside the window watches, closely. He leans
forward – her words are soft today, softer.
The students sit in a trance.
Pick out words from your poem, she repeats.
Throw them away.
Then cook what’s left.
A student leans forward. Wheels crunch into a gravel bed.
A bearded mist rests its dusky feet on the ledge.
Settles down with a sigh.
Her skirt rustles in a red circle as she turns to switch on
the bulb. Then, she switches it off.
Her perfume, silk and tassels, breathes in and out.
Draw starlight into your fingertips and let it
bleed blue before you.
Watch it trail airplane lights scattered among clouds.
Or, see how it maps the vapors from the oceans.
Now look down.
Note the tensed muscles of unhappy
words (they wish to get away!)
Vainglorious phrases, thumping their chests –
place a breath in their place.
She stops… turns towards the owl,
now closer on the branch outside.
The owl tilts his head.
It’s end of class. End of day.