4’33

by Taylor Gorman

Most people mistake it
for silence without realizing
Silence is the mistake in us.
We are watching the composer
Agitate. Hand on his sternum,
He conducts an ocean
Of nothing. He is wanting
Something from the orchestra,
And the two of us are participating,
In a way, enlivening this nothing.
We could have done this
At home, I say, and you shift.
It is not the sound of nothing,
It is the room absorbing,
The sound of your jeans
Bending against your knee,
The feel of your fingernail,
Lessening. Can you hear
The litigation of our bodies?
I can’t. The point of art, you say,
Is to burden. I always assumed
It was to bury. There’s a difference.
It’s our job to exhume, to dissect
And do so wrongly, to be right
In our wrongness.
The only truth in art, I say,
Is vulnerability, though
I don’t mean it. Can’t you hear
How vulnerable this is?
As if the answer to the question
No one asks, no one cares about,
Is surrender, is helplessness.
I don’t know what this means,
But I want you to answer.
Listen to this, you say, listen
And decide what part
of what part is no longer divisible.
How the silence feels like a division
By zero. How it feels like you
Have populated me
With your open hands.

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