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The Partygoers

ISSUE:  Spring 1985
With the invitation
To leave the office party
Comes the invitation to leave
The party behind. With the opening
Of the door comes the golf course,
Changed into something it isn’t
By the blend of moonlight and darkness.
So the flag on the ninth hole
Is waving good-bye to the little frankfurters
And our friends who are getting affectionate.
Such currents of summer air
Carry silences along with them,
Such as the stillness of sand in a trap,
And desires are sometimes revealed
In the silence that inheres in things,
Like this flag sipping the darkness
From its empty cup.

The breeze also carries
A muffled music to our car.
Lost in a drift the lyrics
Are irrelevant, yet knowing the tune
I hear words rise up from memory:
Someone pleads with the postman
For a few lines, a hopeful message.
I’m undecided about silence.
Some nights I aspire to the quietude
Of an ice cube melting in its tray.
Other times a few tempting words
Make the past feasible.
But words bear the same relation,
In sound and rhythm, to the silence
They rise from, as this muted song
Does the air that upholds it.

The distinct voice of our boss,
A waft of laughter.
Look up, a star is burning its junk mail,
Tired of language and trial offers.
All a star wants is to be mythic, private,
Seen first but not wished upon.
All I want is to talk quietly
With you, wishing for a star’s temperament.
But no word seems as powerful
As the space between it and the next one.
No silence ripens affection
Like words that risk naming the moods
Of moonlight on the roofs of parked cars.
When you ask me to listen to the silence
I listen to your breathing.
In the moment just before you speak
I watch your face darken with meaning.


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