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The Singing

by C. K. Williams

[This is from his book of the same name. I can't figure out whether Williams's trademark lines are supposed to spill over and be indented on the next line, or if ideally they're just supposed to be all fitted on a single line if possible. So, to be safe, I'm going the way I read them in his book. --ed]

I was walking home down a hill near our house on a balmy afternoon

under the blossoms

Of the pear trees that go flamboyantly mad here every spring with
their burgeoning forth

When a young man turned in from a corner singing not it was more of

a cadenced shouting

Most of which I couldn't catch I thought because the young man was
black speaking black

It didn't matter I could tell he was making his song up which pleased

me he was nice-looking

Husky dressed in some style of big pants obviously full of himself
hence his lyrical flowing over

We went along in the same direction then he noticed me there almost

beside him and "Big"

He shouted-sang "Big" and I thought how droll to have my height
incorporated in his song

So I smiled but the face of the young man showed nothing he looked

in fact pointedly away

And his song changed "I'm not a nice person" he chanted "I'm not
I'm not a nice person"

No menace was meant I gathered no particular threat but he did want

to be certain I knew

That if my smile implied I conceived of anything like concord
between us I should forget it

That's all nothing else happened his song became indecipherable to

me again he arrived

Where he was going a house where a girl in braids waited for him on
the porch that was all

No one saw no one heard all the unasked and unanswered questions

were left where they were

It occurred to me to sing back "I'm not an nice person either" but I
couldn't come up with a tune

Besides I wouldn't have meant it nor he have believed it both of us

knew just where we were

In the duet we composed the equation we made the conventions to
which we were condemned

Sometimes it feels even when no one is there that someone something

is watching and listening

Someone to rectify redo remake this time again though no one saw nor
heard no one was there

July 31, 2005 in Poems | Permalink