A poem for Thursday

I try to keep an eye on that fine line between enjoying silence and enjoying it a little too much. Without careful attention, silence can turn on you and quickly curdle into loneliness. And you don't know what happened, because you were happy up until that point and you think maybe it's something you lost, as if by accident, like dropping your keys or a ring sliding off your finger.

When you get really good at all of this, you can see it coming and push past your own resistance, out into the world. And I often wonder what it's like to be an extrovert and not crave that aloneness, to want to watch every experience bounce of walls and trees and people until it comes back to you, finally clear and comprehensible.

There's danger in all of it, so many ways to get hurt, of course. And the best you can hope for is some kind of balance, some kind of happiness in yourself and with others, finding the right ones to let in a little more than the rest. This is by Jack Gilbert.

Waiting and Finding
While he was in kindergarten, everybody wanted to play
the tomtoms when it came time for that. You had to
run in order to get there first, and he would not.
So he always had a triangle. He does not remember
how they played the tomtoms, but he sees clearly
their Chinese look. Red with dragons front and back
and gold studs around that held the drumhead tight.
If you had a triangle, you didn’t really make music.
You mostly waited while the tambourines and tomtoms
went on a long time. Until there was a signal for all
triangle people to hit them the right way. Usually once.
Then it was tomtoms and waiting some more. But what
he remembers is the sound of the triangle. A perfect,
shimmering sound that has lasted all his long life.
Fading out and coming again after a while. Getting lost
and the waiting for it to come again. Waiting meaning
without things. Meaning love sometimes dying out,
sometimes being taken away. Meaning that often he lives
silent in the middle of the world’s music. Waiting
for the best to come again. Beginning to hear the silence
as he waits. Beginning to like the silence maybe too much.
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