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“How It Is Said”

e.

……..HOW IT IS SAID stand

………....we stand at the top of
…………………………….the stairs
….I can’t believe he’s gone
you’re still in shock
………………………voices soft
then slow…….
……………..not sick a day in his life
……………….we never know
……….each word
…………...eac& refrain
muting ..thethin
…….the       ………high….frequencies
of weekend
platitudes……chores
…………meals
…………….. errands
………answering now in tones as low
as deep vows of
.. ..years ago
ago………..I do, I promise
……………….even in sickness to listen
to you
……….how after circling &
..circling almost
………………..out of range
……we find…………………we
find our vocation
back
……….on the ground, touching
………          ……..dust
…..,,I’m here…....…….the sliding light
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by Therese L. Broderick
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(A writer’s statement appears as the first comment.)…..
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…………………………

About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

19 responses »

  1. WRITER’S STATEMENT
    .
    This poem was composed in response to prompt #101 on ReadWritePoem: include words beginning with the letter P (“platitudes” etc.). This version of my poem benefits from the feedback of local first readers JG and JH.
    .
    Fact & Fiction
    .
    This poem is autobiographically accurate, except for one enhancement. Last Sunday night, my husband got news of the death of his good friend. We talked on the top of the stairs. In this poem, I strive to capture the tone of our voices during those solemn moments. The one enhancement is the dialogue which closely approximates the truth, but which is not a verbatim transcription (neither of us remembers exactly what we said). My husband has seen this poem and says it’s OK to publish.
    .
    Sound & Sense
    .
    The word “platitude” comes from the prompt’s word list. In this poem, I turn the fact of our low voices into a figuration: during solemn moments in a marriage, the bond which during everyday life is sometimes unmoored becomes once again — as during the wedding rite — deeply grounded. I worked hard to script the sound of voices through the appearance of text on the page.

    Like

  2. This is so like life and marriage. Your word placements are perfect. I can hear and see this couple on the stairs. It could be my husband and I. A month and a half ago his best friend fell off a roof and now has brain damage.

    And your ending! Love it!

    Like

  3. The visual structure of the poem brings Ferlinghetti to mind.

    The rest is straight out of real life and this is masterfully done.

    Like

  4. So much living wrapped up in this moment. It applies to so many.

    Like

  5. Beautiful and sad…it can also read as two pieces “mashed together”. Very heart-felt.

    Like

  6. Hi Therese,

    Although this could be seen as two mashed poems, they need each other; the story and the dialogue. Solemn moments do indeed bring the important things sharply back into focus.

    Like

  7. The closing lines are the most powerful and poignant for me. I like the fragmented structure — it provides a good container for the fragmented emotional content of the poem.

    Like

  8. You’ve created a fine juxtaposition, countering the banality of what we say with a setting that is spare and beautiful. I’d have been tempted to dismiss the commonplace, and would have been wrong.

    Like

  9. All it takes is an instance of death to remind us about life. Your poem was a visual rendering to me of that moment you described in your artist’s statement, how you got the news…I read it as almost a descent down stairs. I liked this.

    -Nicole

    Like

  10. I like the way the dialogue hangs and waits and mingles with the descriptive narrative. It makes the spoken words more poignant and exquisite. I also like how the fragmented placement of the words on the page enhances the imagery of flight, and also of dispersal, which makes the final “grounding” of the described relationship (love the word “vocation” as in calling) all the more resolute and meaningful.

    Like

  11. absolutely beautiful and evocative, Therese.

    Like

  12. There’s an ethereal feel to your structure that’s so apt.

    Like

  13. I love the back and forth of this and how the arrangement of words and the conversation on the stairs captures that. Moving rhythms and images. I admire how thoughtfully you craft your poems.

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  14. Perfect patterned life slice. You’ve rendered the shock and loss with great understanding and empathy.

    Like

  15. Therese, this is a beautiful poem, both to look at and to read. I can “hear” the smaller voices as I read it.

    Like

  16. I am really sorry about your friend’s passing. I totally agree with Linda Jacob’s comments. It is shocking and you do speak exactly the way you have described in your poem. I like how you left the words hanging quietly on the stairs forever. An apt visual. Thank you for sharing, Therese.

    Like

  17. nicely done…thanks for sharing this Therese

    Like

  18. This is such a sad piece. But I absolutely love the way you penned the memory of what you said.

    Like

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