The Intermission Clown
The man, the woman, the dog, the ball.
The black man, the white woman, the black dog, the red ball.
Not once did I mention
the relationship between the man and the dog.
Never the lover, the ball. Nor the woman kiss
the man before the ball returned by dog.
Nor did I bother with waves, or ocean
or beach. The sun hitting the hair of the woman.
As the man came close to her cheek. The dog
caught in the sun, by the ball’s
returning gaze. Never do we learn
how intimate the man has been
with the woman or the dog. How long
have they been in each other’s lives, arms. What is the ball’s
relationship to the dog, to the color. New or favorite.
The same could be said as red.
And not once have I mentioned if the dog belongs
to the woman or the man or the black or the beach.
And the woman, trying to escape the man’s
grasp. And this, a prelude to a breakup
in a matter of minutes. The ball in the red mouth
a transition in orbit. The shoreline baked
in golden sandstorms. Blue waves
on a fading shift of ardent erosion.
Nor do we smell the way they both
ignore the dog. Joyously retrieving the ball
from the ocean. And what about
the manner in which this viewer came upon them.
How I used walk to cross
that part of the telling. That obvious alert
into when we enter, and when we go.
The porous weight that follows echo.
Trailing talk behind each tiny summit of rock,
strewn with reminders of what belongs together.
Catching the size of sirens before they drift apart.
The travel to never-be in the giant size of things.
Never did I mention, how they all tried to become
the other. The man, the woman, the woman, the man.
The dog, the ball, the ball, the dog. The secret
of each other’s knowing. The red, the black, the white, the gold,
unearthed in my viewing. Nor did I allow my witness
a true flight. A risen consequence from the pit
of what I brought with me. My history attached to theirs,
in alignment with my telling.
And when did I leave out how I left. Where,
in this story, is the time or position of the shoreline’s
pass. Every change affecting its greeting.
Each wave, another frame, another stone.
And in what I’ve just told you
did I ever mention thought
or gift or carnival. The horizon’s volume
relived as a tremor, doing its vertical remember in you.
Its impulse for legs, to stand apart
from perspective and light.
in the telling of things.
Copyright © 2010 by Edwin Torres. “The Intermission Clown” was originally published in Yes Thing No Thing (Roof Books, 2010). Reprinted with permission of the author.
Edwin Torres is a bilingual, New York-based poet who's a self-proclaimed "lingualisualist" whose work is "rooted in the languages of sight and sound.” He is the author of multiple books of poetry, including Ameriscopia (University of Arizona Press, 2014), One Night: Poems for the Sleepy (Red Glass Books, 2012), and Yes Thing No Thing (Roof Books, 2010), among others.
He is the recipient of poetry fellowships from the DIA Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, the Kimmel Arts Center, and the New York Foundation of the Arts, among others, and has performed his poems worldwide.
Date Published: 2017-11-16
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/intermission-clown