Stride Magazine -



Tomaz Salamun sleeps in the forest
where the words do not have to obey anything at all
where the silence of light is the silence of faith
where the lessons of history have been buried in poetry
where the memory of autumn whispers its drums;

Tomaz Salamun knows what has to be written
before the words are dead, what has to be said before
there is nobody to listen, what has to be shared before
the forest is taken away and the wisdoms of years stored
silently in a corner of the town hall;

Tomaz Salamun stands beneath the vastness of
October and hears the drums of winter as they are
assembled by the weeping god;
there is just enough time to prepare for this,
there is just enough time to believe.


After the small vans came to take away all the instruments
in metal boxes, leather cases, shaped to fit, zipped in silences;

after the vast dance floor had been cleared, the piano hidden
in a shadow, the chairs stacked at the back and the small tables
laid out in the only possible pattern beneath the stage;

after the rumour of music, the memory of applause, the setting
of spotlights and strobes and incised EXIT signs

he dances

as he did aged seven with his mother, his sister, his
younger brother, his pillow, his Archie Andrews puppet, his invisible friend,
his never-ever wife, his secure companion, his other voice,
his dream creature, his whispering woman;

between the tall robes of the darkness
before the ward and its beds like little boats
before the dreams and the sound of his fatherís fury;

a dance, a little performance, a small statement
beginning again.


The only time it gets to seem real
is when somebody kills somebody or
when the elegant tap dancer keels over
or the bishop burps or the man in the bed
tells you a story that is better than dreams.
And when they do this dying thing one is left
deserted between the pianistís gesture and the
untouched keys, the image of the aeroplane
that suddenly becomes flames, the moment
before the tree falls to make a million matches.
Real is somewhere between the ideal and oneís response
to somewhere else. Real is Hitler visiting a tap
dancing school. Real is Arthur Miller not being
able to tell this story, write it down, for fifty years.
Real is walking songs, walking novels, dreaming real.

            © David H.W. Grubb 2003