Poem: The Overture


To stand on a rock

And sing out your song

Is a wagtail’s genius


But, my own song has no

Rock to stand on – it cartwheels

Over temporal states – slithers over

The internet’s pages, pirouetting hearts,

Clubs, diamonds, Saxons – into and out

Of nostrils, and other people’s mouths:

The song sung by everyone –

A silent melody uniting every tongue


I heard all those tongues, and begged them

To kiss me; but I did not want them all to

Kiss me – I wanted them to resolve themselves

Into a perfect tongue, and seal themselves like a

Letter, inside your mouth


I cannot tell you what this letter revealed,

As I was the one who wrote it



My overture began at unhappiness’s

Gates – my song soaring out, melodically

Narrating dissociative crimes

Singing of –

Life reduced to art,

Art raised up to life


The overture introduced all the

Main themes of my life –

In dissonant harmonies – either

Microtonally claustrophobic – or

Oceans of octaves apart – no

Reassuring perfect cadence – no

Harmonic middle ground


I sat in the audience – waiting

For the overture to conclude, and

For the opera proper to begin


But, every time there was a lull,

And it sounded like the next movement

Was going to appear, the conductor would

Convulse, and the overture would reprise;

Those jarring, eerie, disquieting

Themes, in perpetual resurrection


People in the audience would complain

Or try to go – but the instrumentalists were

Protected by bullet-proof glass, and

The usherettes would not permit anybody

To exit the theatre, until the performance

Had ended


People would grow old, sick,

And die – many would starve,

Fatally malnourished, as there’s

Only so long you can live off Cornettos

And popcorn, before your will begins to

Give out –

Matrimonial alliances were forged –

Children were born – but still the overture

Kept on repeating, population levels cresting

And falling



Listening to this sempiternal

Circulation of themes, I began to

Realize all was not as it seemed:

There were subtle transpositions –

Barely audible fugues – harmonic

Modulations, soft and subdued,

Intimating the minutiae of progress,


Had the overture really ended

Years ago? Was I now just living

On borrowed variations, slowly creeping

Into something different?



So, whilst I did receive your letter,

I could not read it – because it just

Kept feeding out from a printer millions

Of miles of pages, repeating nothing but

“Dear Reuben,

Dear Reuben,

Dear Reuben,”



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