Symphony through a Basement Window

I have to say, I will be relieved when this month comes to an end. I just feel bled dry, creatively, right now. I’ll make it through tomorrow — I’ll get the prompt up (at some point), I’ll write a poem (maybe two), I might even hit my goal of sixty for the month — but then I am taking off for a solid five days. It doesn’t help that I feel bled dry in several other aspects of my life right now, so I think there’s got to be some slow re-accumulation. I say this every year, and never stay away for long; probably this one won’t be any different. But I think I need to start taking a more measured look at what I’m producing, how to improve it, how to find things worth saying and say them uniquely.

This one is kind of for NaPoWriMo. The five foreign words required by the prompt are in there, I promise.

Symphony through a Basement Window

There’s a woman who plays the berimbau upstairs,
scratching along with an old LP from her batizado.
The chorus bubbles out, and her voice lifts with it, starling
greeting starling. I do not think this is the same woman

who, during dinner, hurled a stack of china plates
into the airshaft as she screamed, maricón, cabrón,
the one whose husband slammed the door behind him
and let his dinner petrify on the table. And she
is not the only musician careening round the courtyard:

theremin bows awkwardly over the collapsing fence,
flickers through the screen, laced with bass guitar
like tectonic plates discussing their shift. This band
always holds parties full of hiccuping laughter
that I’m never invited to. And when the sun droops

red into the chimney, some animal, must be a dog,
wails its awful diminuendo and I want to drop everything,
climb the fire escape, come to the rescue–
but I could spend hours trying to figure out

which window to break, the building an echo chamber
drinking sound like the sea drinks a river. Sometimes
I press against the screen humming into it
so it can imbibe me, too. When the alley grows dark
and the boiler quiet, I press my head to the pillow. There,
far-off is the tempered beat of the subway buried alive,
there I am, riding it into the night.

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2 thoughts on “Symphony through a Basement Window

  1. viv blake says:

    Gorgeous. I specially like the peaceful ending. Enjoy your break and come back refreshed.

  2. Wonderful poem. It does seem you drive yourself awfully hard but the look at what you produce!

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