I write poems when I hear you talk


I want to write poems
When I hear you talk
About how Caesar
Built a bridge across the Rhine
Through you I see the sounds
of every brick being laid
further and beyond
Throughout the night
Lines of red and white
Suspended in the air indefinitely
Like a low branch
Wet from the ancient rain of history

When you turn to smoke
My mind struts up the elevated foundation
You’ve built with your words and thoughts
Realization in a moment of solitude as I reach the top
Looking for my own bridge over the river Rhine
With silent Caesars, multitude
and half-broken bricks
Or, just as well
Down the hatches of decades
Where I am the river Rhine
And you, like Caesar
Old and young
No choice and furrowed brow
Order bricks into lines of red and white

You’re back now
Staring silently
As I try to explain
How I’ve just run down the scales of a poem
I haven’t even written yet
How a story about Caesar and the Rhine
Will turn into a low branch
dripping from the rain of history
Or, just as well
Stay in this room indefinitely
Never to leave
Like poems often do
“Well, either way”
You say with a quick smile
And jump into a story
About some other Roman general
And I
Still swimming in the river Rhine
Turn to smoke

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