Monday, March 14, 2011

Buzz Buzz Bump

Chris Piper

C. Piper, Napa

still and quiet
an intermittent buzz
a fly by the window
buzz buzz bump
buzz buzz bump
a fly by the window
trying to get out
It flies against the window
urgency audible
in the still and quiet

Its multifaceted eyes
see the window
must see the window
some sensory mode
must feel the window
it strikes with such force
that energy dissipates
as sound out of proportion
to the size of the fly
but not its struggle

I observe the fly
It perceives the glass
but cannot conceive of glass
It throws itself again and again
against the apparent
transparent obstruction
buzz buzz bump
buzz buzz bump
to be free or die trying

I make less noise in my struggle
not relative to my size
less noise than a fly these days
bump with less conviction
against perceived but
incomprehensible barriers
buzz buzz bump
buzz buzz bump
buzz bump


Thanks, Chris! C. Piper, 60, and his wife of 31 years, Alice, live in Napa, California, where they have raised three children—Benjamin, Julia and Samuel. On Wednesday evenings, he takes out the garbage. On Saturdays, he mows the lawn. Every morning, he writes, and most of it is released to the public on Wednesday evenings.


—C. Piper

In my dream
you reach across the table
and lay your fingertips
upon my forearm
like a pianist
finding first position,
your eyes reading my eyes
like sheet music;
the hammers strike
within my heart,
a dissonant chord throbs
in syncopation to my pulse,
and I weep
as I am weeping now
because I feel your touch
and because I feel my pulse.
People who can sing
don’t know a thing about it
that is people
who just open their mouths
and sing;
“Just open your mouth,”
they say,
“sing from here.”
I can open my mouth
but cannot sing from there
or I can sing from there
but cannot open my mouth
but in my dream
your fingertips upon my forearm
I sing.


—C. Piper

Orientation in space
falling no longer sensate

pull, push
sound, hush
balance and harmony

wind and water
a moment
of companionship

feng shui achieved—
far away


—C. Piper

Not even the Ninth—
the wonderful Ninth
with its majestic movements—
could match the power
and beauty of the music
Beethoven thought;
and he labored,
painfully labored
in lifelong gestation
inventing lexicon
where none existed
to bring forth
the mind’s symphonics;
but in translation—
as in all translations—
something of the original is

So it is with any conversation,
but particularly this one—
straining at the limitations
of the social contract
that stipulates
hat means hat
and chapot, chapot
and etcetera;
not coming to terms
with the known vocabulary
to express thoughts
spoken in a tongue
too personal,
like an emotion. . .
but not an emotion.

The thoughts flow
orderly, coherently,
but quickly and,
despite efforts to
loop them like a series
of images . . .
but not images . . . ,
they change each time—
some for better,
some not, some

If you could read my thoughts
without the clumsy translation,
this would make sense,
but not this, me . . . I . . . we . . .
lost . . .
you would find me innocent
or if not innocent, blameless,
or if not blameless then
not guilty by reason of.


—C. Piper

The Uncertainty Principle
reasserts itself
with unprincipled certainty.
We know moment or momentum
but never both . . . never.
The more precisely
we determine the one
the more imprecise
and indeterminate the other—
your position absolute,
but where are you going?
Where am I . . . relatively speaking?

We segue between
place and pace—
strange attractors,
bodies in motion
that touch experimentally,
the mechanics of the universe applied
and re-applied to maximize output:
less heat, more light deep into the night . . .
deep, deep into the night.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

majestic soaring
conifers garbed in snowflakes—
lacy haute couture.

pristine mountain lakes
suspended in gauzy mist—
variant sapphire.

eagle, coyote,
scouring the chalk-white landscape—
nomadic gourmets.

miniature saplings
bent double by heavy snow—
bow in reverence.



A Willow Woos

—Photo by Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax