A Page of Verse
by Michael Mallows
This was written as I sat in on a meeting chaired by a bully. He was articulate,
manipulative, forceful, and oozed a kind of lethal charm.
people attempted to gainsay him, he would appear to listen then respond in
such a way that it was obvious their utterances had no more significance than
the beat of a gnat’s wing has on an elephant’s pride.
sitting outside this group, making notes, it wasn’t long before I understood
something about the underlying dynamic, the root cause of some of the
tensions, the patterns and Games that were being played out. As I was there to
observe and, later, comment, it was not necessary to pay much more attention
to the big picture, so I got fascinated in the things that were being said -
rather than what was happening.
of this flowed freely as I sat there, though later I did work to make it - I
hope - something more akin to poetry.
irrupt into the silver silence
molten. Viscous, honeyed gold
sudden sentences soar, sink then stumble.
old slights reverberate in the aftermath of heated debate;
vicious verbs. Turgid and torrid phrases
teem, tower, topple, and tumble.
they are picked up again, carried forward
challenge, charm, chop, and change minds,
become shields against poison darts.
parts become barricades. Beginnings, endings.
and cries of blacks and whites, old and young.
Future’s perfect; the Present tense.
the past, I could have bitten off my tongue - yet,
the voice is spent, we have but poor choice and less sense.
the light, words glimmer, glow, burn.
dark corners, they burn Iridescent,
the light of love in eyes once warm,
bedim the sun and the crescent moon.
the deed, echoing forever. Uttered too soon,
spinning yarns in the eye of the storm.
well rounded, we follow the thread.
Truth lies. Whether light or gravely said
delay caresses, pose questions. Who cares!
cares? Dangerous intimacy for those who dare silence.
pregnant with pauses. Words unborn,
promises. Love aborted. Hope bleeds
every hurt unheard, every unmet need.
hammered into memory, meaning shoehorned,
into effects without causes.
tenderness trundles into velvet violence.
juggling, jostling jocular clauses
unuttered. Can we escape the prison sentences
And come home to the still freedom of a momentary silence?
 Michael Mallows was asked to submit a piece of writing for the Language section of this issue, using his flair for word play. We felt it was a flower that deserved more than simply to "blush unseen and waste its beauty on the desert air" of the Language section. So we gave it a page to itself.