The Semiotics of Silence
Poets dance in our dreams after the bars close
their naked feet slapping out a rhythm
to keep us from slipping into sleep.
I’ll remember you as you were there then,
a birthmark in my brain, sitting near naked,
propped up at your dining room table,
not like we found you, a turtle trapped on your back
crashed up against those free weights,
crushed underneath the ancient bench press
thinking you were still a prisoner,
your pale old skin already deathly sickly cold
grey straggling hairs stuck wetly to your forehead,
yellowed teeth like broken barnacles spitting out poems
or just drooling in time to some secret rhythm.
Yes, we propped you up in a chair so we could share
ice cream and cookies and wine on your birthday
with a candle and a song and shitty diapers
beneath the skimpy black briefs you still wore
at 82. The room’s light was as yellow as your teeth
like an exhausted wave drifting on a dead sea
hurt and or damaged, the connection lost to all articles
like bullets, like sperm, like everyone old was a child
when discos looked to mirror balls and brought the sun indoors
like a golden Abyssinian points in the darkness to night everlasting.
The dull earth radiates coldness and the scent of everything long past
St James the infirm, a brother denied, rings random moments
without meaning. This was always coming, this future
built of fire, on the wreckage of the past: Words without end.
A long time activist and journalist, Fred Dodsworth is finishing his Masters in Creative Writing from SFSU. A poet since childhood, Fred is thrilled his short stories and poems are finally finding the light of day and hopes to complete his first novel this year.