About Being Young, Or, My Education

By
I am interrupted by voices
at school and home and in between --
muses and their opposites.
I ask the walls which ones to listen to
and which need not be heard.

I first remember hearing them when I was six.
I entered a room where a pianist played.
Her hands were spiders,
pale and long-limbed,
they wove webs from music
and there was nothing but to sit
and listen.

The beige beast of isolation sat and sipped its tea
with the grinning clown of snobbery.

Her music still reaches my ears,
the whistle of a downtown train
tasting like the yellow air of a dry July
summer afternoon.
Somewhere, Bob Dylan still laughs, -- ha!
Tucson will still be a desert
(no matter how much they water the trees Downtown).

This is city is alive.
The mountains melt into the sky, and you can smell
the heat of sand dunes behind them
I stood by my little mesquite at twilight
the bricks giving back what they took all day.

Life isn’t easy, (my house is a mess --
perhaps it would be better if the neighbours weren’t around,
or if I had less work
I could get around to cleaning it)

The weeks don’t pass by, they only flow out
And in again, each tide
measured by late Monday nights
On which we search the guts and bowels of our brains
for newer words, because we have yet to notice
that words are never new.

-- but her hands spin lace from crystal chords
weave sunsets from pure pitch.

I say many things in a day, but
I’m about as talkative as a staircase.
She stops playing
(the webs glimmer in the shifting sun)
And asks me why
-- her song is silent, and so is she.

Pas la peine de parler le langue de sourds
Je comprends le français.

I feel the burning brick beneath bare feet
breathing slowly now,
her song is a sleepy saxophone reveley
The day must rest, the darker hours wake
to find the questions to the answers
each hour inevitably brings.

The next morning, a the radio sounds, classic rock
I dress to Eric Clapton
eat my cornflakes and barely catch the bus,
its fat, bee-like body stuttering to a stop
as I dash towards it, books teetering in my arms and
thoughts left forgotten on the breakfast table
next to the newspaper and algebra homework.

In school, the voices interrupt me
and her music seems to mock my loss of mind.
Pens dance in the spotlight
while books mingle and sip martinis
under cobwebs of a dusty tune
woven by her white-knuckled fingers.

This isn’t what I meant
when I said
teach me something new.





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