AFTER SO MANY YEARS OF NOT SPEAKING GERMAN

After so many years of not speaking German
I give up hope that the language
would have helped this feeling today.
Rain on the empty carnival grounds,
the runny poster of times and prices.
My new word is Resignation
and I make a point not to let it
age me or steal aspects from my face.
At the dwindling crescendo of an Affair
we pick up Anything to save the Feeling.
We make talismans of balls of old tissue,
the telephone number on the scrap without a name.
Ah. This number will save me.
I’ll dial it and the voice on the other end
will say Do this now, Do this.
I need a new tongue so badly,
a new set of words to press out, to protect me
from the crystalline comprehension of shutting up.
Let me try German or Italian.
Let me move to a town
where no one will be helpful with the vocabulary
and the faces I meet will be aloof and unaccountable.
A yellow clown and a fairy princess,
her dress stuck like a shut fan from the rain,
are taking turns leaving their tiny shelter
under the metal awning of an old kiosk
and looking up the mean road
for the caravan truck to back up,
glistening again as if with new paint,
and open its doors.

copyright 1985 by Harry Kondoleon