People, even face to face…disappear from each other.
You are most powerful when you are most silent. People never expect silence. They expect words, motion, defense, offense, back and forth. They expect to leap into the fray. They are ready, fists up, words hanging leaping from their mouths. Silence? No.
in this home that is not our home, we have mutually
other. i walk down your street in the rain, and i do
not call you. that we
do not speak is louder than bombs.
there are times that missing you is a matter of
procedure. now is
not one of those times, there are times when
missing you hurts. so
it comes to this, vying for geography. there is a
prayer stuck in my
throat, douse me in gasoline, my love, and strike a
match. let’s see
this prayer ignite to high heaven.
—Barbara Jane Reyes
Don’t do what you want. Do what you don’t want. Do what you’re trained not to want. Do the things that scare you the most.
of course it’s terribly unfair, my reflexive assignation of stigma, the siegewall flung into blindered impregnability (all bravado. fragility osmoses.). bellicose babble needling you hence (no room in this inn for thee). snarling at your supination, at the mirrors of the burden barring banishment; panic swells, turns tempest in the face of this refraction, of Self made manifold (no verbose filter, no veneer to play mask, to make up); snarling, seared by light, the sway of being’s pendulum, snarling because why aren’t you running?
you aren’t, because you can’t. which you’ve been whispering in counterpoint to my cacophany this entire time. the tether binds in each direction.
She never utters a sound even when she’s crying, and that makes me a little sad. Doesn’t seem right. When you cry, people should hear you. The world should stop.
Silence is of different kinds, and breathes different meanings.
“I’m really going to miss the quiet here,” Daphne admitted, toying with the stalk of some plant or another (probably a weed, else she wouldn’t have plucked), nostalgia sighing into being as a tonal undercurrent, in the line drawn from knee to chin by a reassuring forearm (hand double-cast as both table and headrest), in the finality with which she fixed her gaze skyward for one last draught of the dizzying multitude of constellations arrayed above, and murmured in the infinitesimal shifting of muscle and bone.
i reassured her reflexively, and understood exactly what she would miss (and even why), but disagreed on a fundamental level. of course i concede that in a literal sense, it is a great deal quieter in Santa Rosa than it is in San Francisco. the silence here originates in a proximity to Nature that can easily escape active notice until one finds oneself in an actual city. i say “active” because i am convinced that many, if not most, of the people who have taken up residence here are aware of the quietude, if not its root, on a subconscious level that nevertheless colors thought and action.
each summer, this city offers a weekly farmer’s market in the downtown area; streets are closed in the evening, purveyors of goods both edible and otherwise erect booths and hawk their wares, and much of the population converges, presumably to purchase a meal, organic vegetables, fine pottery, jewelry, soap, et cetera, until sundown. it’s a much-lauded tradition that supposedly fosters a city-and-countywide strain of (airquotes) school spirit (end airquotes). i see it instead as a desperate attempt by the locals to construct an atmosphere that validates their existence here—this isn’t suburbia, they assure themselves, look at all of these people! we have the best of both worlds, really, large population *and* extensive local agriculture, not to mention The Wine—and to immerse themselves into such a riot of sound that after a few hours, they can pretend to be glad to return to the silence of their suburban home (“I could never live in a city, with a racket like that going nonstop) in time for whichever Reality Tee Vee show they prefer for an hour of lazy twenty-first century escapism.
people often speak more loudly here than is wholly necessary, thanks either to the fear of being unheard or the cocksure assumption that nothing else is as interesting as is whatever they feel inspired to say. in my own neighborhood, machine noise often pervades during the day, indicative of yet another landscape overhaul, room addition, room-repurposement, pool installation or pool removal fueled by the ennui of financially-secure husbands and understimulated housewives.
Santa Rosa cannot decide whether it would prefer the ambiance a big city, with high-rises, a unifying citywide culture (“the wine country” being our current stand-in), useful public transportation, and a lot less trees in exchange for a lot more people, or that of a small town in which everybody knows just about everybody (also, everybody’s business) and prefers to do all of their grocery shopping from farmers/growers rather than from the folks at Safeway. the noise in San Francisco is an inevitable result of the proliferation of humanity and structure and industry and the transportation of all of the above, but the noise here is little more than an affectation.
when i leave my hometown, i miss only specifics. the bakery out towards the ocean, the miles of trails upon which i run, the little Italian restaurant on the side of the highway, surrounded by vineyards. i can find untainted silence wherever i go, but i’m beginning to experience sound as an integral part of the human experience (and *my* human experience), and this assignation of weight engenders heightened awareness and, in my case, analysis. i find myself growing weary of sounds which indicate—or embody— a dearth of integrity and ignorance of the environment and experience one inhabits and, invariably, projects.