Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Bohemian Dreams

The year I made it, you weren’t there.
There were fragments of you
plastered on the walls of my throat,
clinging to my voice as if they owned it.
I was there, all eyes, open wide,
taking it in, years later,
always after the fact.
I was wondering where I lost my smile,
and there was its echo.

I see it now,
in the people washing past subway trains,
my stare fixed through them.
I see it now, the last time I laughed,
stuck like graffiti to the grime.

The fact that I was walking with your ghost
may not be fair, but at the top of the stairs,
as the city splayed itself below
like an immense cadaver on icy grey,
I couldn’t even shed a tear.
I let the street cellist slice me wide
with every sweep of his bow.
He knew it well, that song to which we all bled:
“Je vous parle d'un temps
Que les moins de vingt ans
Ne peuvent pas connaître
Montmartre en ce temps-là…”

I thought I lost it, my voice,
but it was only getting hoarse
until I couldn’t recognize it.
I became a ventriloquist of myself.
And yet the yearning for song never quits,
the way my mother still attempts to dance every New Year's,
her protruding kneecaps buckling under the weight of her soul.
It catches me there, the urge to sing,
where the pigeons take flight with horror.
It catches me mid-sentence,
with a groan that rumbles like fear.
But I bundle it up—limbs at the scene of a crime—
and drag it here—choppy, bloody and raw—
here where no one sees,
no one hears, no one shudders,
and let it go.

© Copyright 2010 Obeida Sidani

(Originally posted on November 28, 2006)


KGT said...


RC said...

I love this poem!

Anonymous said...


Els said...

a truly marvelous piece!

Eve said...

all of the above!

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is so full of regret and longing. The cello slicing you open...and becoming a ventriloquist of yourself....amazing.