After-music: Poems by Conrad Hilberry

By Conrad Hilberry

After-Music is a diverse and wealthy number of meditations on either the non-public and common. one of many fascinating areas, humans, and occasions that Hilberry brings to existence in those poems are observing manatees in a Florida canal, a reluctant priest blessing the animals in Mexico, a rushed and sullen checkout lady within the grocery store, and Day of the useless skeletons that shape a mariachi band. even if the various poems are formal in sonnets, quatrains, and tetrameter many of the poems are loose verse, making them obtainable and relaxing analyzing.

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Listening, does soul recall long sadnesses, taut rope raveling as we pulled through a marsh of years— and, over and under these, the intricate entwinings, meshing life with life? The soul’s not going back, but still it clings, half hankering, until an updraft scatters it. A thread of road twists by the river, and voices blow downwind like smoke. 23 24 Black Car Blues Like some black dog, that car smells out the street, Nosing its way, that long car sniffs the street. Why stop right here, long dog?

Instead, I take your breath, shape it, let it find a passage down this wooden shaft, curl out around the ankles of the clarinet. The horns have forged a monumental fountain on the stage and now the strings supply the water, surging up, looping, falling in 33 34 great sobs. The audience is weeping, but you and I have doubts. We wind our fiber through the latticework of their grand art, hoping someone may hear the muscled twist of grief that’s seasoned in a narrow tube, the hollow music of a long-held breath.

Sculptors bend their clay and steel against my emptiness. Somehow, though I’m not giving it a thought, I nudge a shadow from a twist of bronze or change the way a breast and elbow size each other up. Writers like to wrap white space around their wit, but I’m not white, not bound or folded. I’m your zero with its circumference erased, an abandoned building once the building’s gone. Let’s say 53 54 a heavy childhood event has bent your life, shaped what you’ve become. Now you find it never happened.

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