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Distillation: A Poem

I wrote this a few months back, but it came to mind today because I spent hours this week wrestling with a song. Knowing that I’m recording it in a matter of days ramps up the pressure to get it right–or, as right as I can get it. It’s a relief sometimes to remember that, as hard as I try to say what I mean to the listener, in the end, the song (or poem) is going to do whatever it wants.

DISTILLATION It’s hard to choose, Among all that is And all that is not, One small thing To make much of: One cell, One star, One wind, One wound, One old broken truck, One undeniable infatuation With one untouchable soul; To pen a span of words With myriad meanings, Arranged just so, in order That they might mean That one single thing Which can mean A million things– Depending on The reader, And the hour He or she reads it, And the angle of light, And the heart’s condition, And the temperature of the air, And the presence (Or absence) Of demons Or angels, Personal Or impersonal, And the song that played In the bakery and mingled Perfectly with the aroma and Aerated the anger, just enough That the poem might seed the soul With a fleeting, sacred silence– Just enough to plant the secret God is telling–the one thing We’re all dying to discover– Even if we have to find it In a poem.

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