When Words Collide by Sy Roth 

When Words Collide
Original photography by Robert Sundheimer

Grandson’s Trope

Write me a poem that takes the veldt like a gazelle.
Put the orange ribbons on the fence.
Seek peace–
He insisted.
Do better than Ogden.

Grandfather’s Antipode

I thought I did.
But the ribbons hung limp
Unlike Kodiak bears ripping through a verdant forest.
It did not satisfy him.
It was too narrow a fellow, he said, an asp
Lost easily in the grass of all those words.
I masked its true intent.

Grandson’s Trope

He said it needed outsized, orange swatches of cloth.
He wanted me to be Christo and drape the Rio Grande.
He wanted me to swaddle him in its myrrh and frankincense winds,
Lay out a passel of Gargantuan words
Like yards and yards of organza and tulle fluttering in cooling breezes.
He wanted me to drape Greek statues and Roman columns.
He wanted unctuous words excised.
He told me to carve them,
Make them into slivers
And place under dirty fingernails.
Make the words
And drown him in cloud-happy memories.

Grandfather’s Antipode

To do that, I argued,
You need instead an army of Japanese painters
With their broad strokes like Samurai warriors
Swirling their hake brushes like sabers
Indelicately marking a glacial landscape.

Grandson’s Trope

Write weeping words
Like tattooed numbers on withered arms
Blue, faded numbers.
Create spasms of intricate intent
Where messages are borne in their pens,
Where inky memories, are inscribed.

Mournful Respite for Both

But the words fail.
Instead of a poem,
The delicate hake-induced joyful grins
Turn into mournful dirges,
Flaccid paint squiggles
Entwined in a never-ending embrace.
Write becomes a word and
We weep for the silence of our words.

©2018 Sy Roth
Original photography by Robert Sundheimer


Follow Sy:

Sy Roth is a retired school administrator who has finally found the sounds of silence and the time to think whole thoughts. This has led him to find words and the ability to shape them. He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Mad Swirl, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre, Bitchin’ Kitch, Bong is Bard, Humber Pie, Poetry Super Highway, Penwood Review, Masque Publications, Foliate Oak, Miller’s Pond Poetry and The Eloquent Atheist.

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