winter shows itself

Winter shows itself
not overnight like
a flash flood or a flurry
of snow, but briefly
it peaks its nose on
frosted flower leaves
,suddenly ebbing
like the rise of a warm, hot
bath, or a candle slowly
extinguished, smoke silking
and sinking to the
rise and fall of pleasure.

once a heart decides

i feel it, too: how could i not?
once a heart decides
it is every same heart,
another sun in the sky of
a spinning galaxy,
every pirouette carried to end.
it is the endless gaze
between two, a knowing
that only existed.
it is the same cell
in all bodies, beating,
a drop of oil in the water
instantly everywhere:
the oxygen of earth
the miracle of birth

the clutter of hands

in a 1940s french theatre
there is no other sound
like the clutter
of hands clapping

This poem is about the feeling I got when watching Quentin Tarantino’s film, Inglourious Basterds and my fascination with the hand clap. I’ve seen my fair share of war films – and then not enough – but this fictional piece about a set of Jewish-American special forces skinning the heads of Nazis in German-occupied France really opened my eyes. I felt, as I think Tarantino intended, righteous and good as the Jews got their revenge in this virtual, plausible WWII while at the same time I didn’t think it was right – that the deaths of the guilty justified the deaths of the innocent. But that is what art is about in one sense: that we as human beings, as people, can feel some way and yet think another. That life isn’t an experience of one dimension, but of many.

And so I sat there watching the Nazi hierarchy burning to the beautiful face of a Jewish women in a French cinema, where an act of revenge, redemption, and extreme violence felt rewarding and disgusting at the same time, and yet I was fascinated with this idea of applause. That in our time, 350 high-ranking Nazis, including the Fuhrer himself, could celebrate a campaign of cruelty with a universal symbol of social approval, hands clapping – albeit in a work of fiction. If you’ve listened to the soundtrack of a live concert, you’ll know the sound of a crowd applause is always different, yet always the same. There’s a patter, like rain, that is filled with hands coming together at a rate irregular, yet natural. In this poem I tried to capture the normal, eerie, nostalgic, and ominous sound of the applause of the Nazi officers gave before watching their last film.