The Poetry Project

How Fast Is Slow

Marc Solomon

How Fast is Slow?

Silent, cold and calm, night skies may
Begin and end in curtained agitations.

Given how tenderly tissue takes to touch,
The dream of skies could hold
A crowd without more guessing than
What draws children to the scale of nautical
Distances in search of seaways beyond
The range of neglected family confusions;

And who could speak of touch per se
Or ask indirect questions found to pull
Answers from trunks of thankless feeling?

To sort touch from feeling
The present and the absent, both, betray
Promise merely to suggest sea-tight vessels
Must remain no more than lightly moored
And evade grift by precisely recalling
Which helmsmen's words for change collide
Or reveal blind navigators setting out on currents
Eliding dreams, memories and translations
For sailors haunting back-lanes
While searching among wave-razors
For ways to stay in touch.

Even today, rival voyagers might confess:
“To touch, to feel, to speak barely form
Constellations,” but drifters cannot tell
Whether stars offer celerity or quotes.

Through a sailor's apprehension raised to
A navigator's shame, such divergence dispels
One deceptive sea-dog‘s account of separation
Not from touch, care or spite,
But from all that went before.

Quiet Car Under Speed

Silence weighs its glare.
Signals interrupt their patter.
You want to hide what you expect,
What you refuse to plan for.
You hear the interruptions begin again.
What demands now ask for recall,
Aside from serviceable clothing,
Neglected haircuts
The drive to take the right stop?
How can you raise such questions
At Fourteenth Street?
She’s talking to the rider
Sitting next to her.
They both wear white sneakers.
I must go.

Work from Touch / Don’t Touch: Dis/Course with Gabrielle Civil