NaPoWriMo/NaPoREADMo #6 — No Answer

No Answer

The taste of chalk finds its way 
to your tongue through the back
of your nose after the rain begins 
to hit the hot pavement.

You have missed something. 

Because of this you suffer.


It is all right with the world. It is as it 
should be and it is not fair and it does 
not matter because fair is not for us.

Fair is not fair. 
Fair or not fair 
is not a fair exchange. Ex-
pectation is false.

All of it is a lie 
in the mind of the past 
about the mind of the future, 
neither of which happens to be present.

The thing is, all the things are not in 
the moment, are not of the moment,
are of course nothing but the moment 
that, passing between us, happens to happen 
when we are not looking, when we are 
absent although we are present, when the
paradox of paradise or the paradise of
paradox in which we dwell or don’t dwell
for ever or never for a moment again

slips by us, slips us by, lisps and 
lists into the future listlessly, help-
lessly, and we are stunned again
into silence, unarmored and stripped 
to our amorous bones just enough to 
dive back in and keep on diving even 
when the pool has no water in it, even 
when the air is as dry as dirt and our noses
crack and bleed and our eyes turn to the 
dust in the holes in our heads for answers 
that are not there for all the looking 

and not seeing, for all the “Look at me,” 

for all the “Nonono. Don’t look at me,” 

for all the 


for all the 

“where are you?”


Of course we do not deserve any of this. 

We suffer anyway. We suffer no matter 
what. In or of or out of the moment, the 
moment is already gone, and it is not fair 
either. It is not square with a hole in it nor
is it a round without. It is a moment that 
we have missed and it is not (fair or not fair) and

it presents itself despite itself
as you stand there,		

alone with the rest of us			

on the hot pavement

after the rain begins.

Keepin' the "Po" in NaPoWriMo....

8 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo/NaPoREADMo #6 — No Answer

  1. Holy shit, Johnny … when you decide to write…You decide to write. 🙂

    Love the alliteration list and lisps … that’s almost the sound of the hissing of the rain against the asphalt … the hot pavement. The chalk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And apparently I decide to write tongue-twisters. Having to read these damned things aloud has really shown me just how tricky my own words are to read….
      And to be honest….I ‘decided’ to write this piece about four years ago and have been tinkering with it ever since. I just forced myself to Finish it. Which is really what I do in April more than actual writing AND finishing things….although there may just be a couple of those….
      Thank you Mimsy–I like the idea of the meanings of the poem crossing over from the letters and words on the page to the sounds they make aloud. I suppose it is very shishy-skritchy…..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with what Whimsy Mimsy said.

    This is why I believe in the importance of kindness, cooperation, and support. I think what you have written is very true and since we are all faced with these uncertainties and the absence of fairness, we need to help one another and reserve judgment whenever possible.

    This is a powerful poem. Thank you for writing and sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this.

    In its attempt to locate the moment (or presence), this poem answers me so clearly and startlingly, with an answer to a question that is tentative but eternal. That is, it speaks so truthfully it defies the absence it laments.

    The shared emptiness of the eye holes that, for all our looking in and out, and for the craving “amorous bones” and the repetitive shedding and diving into the wave we flounder in…while somewhere that moment tumbles on the surface of that wave, be it crest or trough.

    I guess you can see which images affected me most strongly. There’s an inner sense to this poem–the heartrending loss of the moment where we’re seeking ‘answer’. And there’s an outer, the hiss of rain on pavement, the sudden taste of chalk. I really like where you went with this moment. The moment you missed.

    It is not fair. And yet, this poem does justice to the idea. It’s perfect. Thank you for your NaPoWriMo posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Holly. I like to think that good poems don’t so much answer questions but ask them, or perhaps if they do answer, they answer with yet another question. Like if the question is big enough, the non-answer is the only valid one. You’ve hit on something here that resonates very much with something I just came across on YT:

      There is a moment in there where William Sieghart speaks about the kind of union that happens between reader and poet, a kind of universality of the poetic moment. I really like that idea. Robert Pinsky also speaks about this:
      “Poetry, then, has roots in the moment when a voice makes us alert to the presence of another or others. It has affinities with all the ways a solitary voice, actual or virtual, imitates the presence of others. Yet as a form of art it is deeply embedded in the single human voice, in the solitary state that hears the other and sometimes recreates that other. Poetry is a vocal imagining, ultimately social but essentially individual and inward.”


      “It [the voice of poetry] penetrates and in a sense originates where the reader’s mind reaches toward something heard or uttered as though vocality were one of the senses. This medium is different from performance: different from the poet’s intonations and personality shining forth at a poetry reading, and different from a skilled actor’s gifts. The voice is inside a reader, but gestures outward.”


      “Poetry as breath penetrates to where the body recognizes the stirring of meaning. Poetry mediates, on a particular and immensely valuable level, between the inner consciousness of the individual reader and the outer world of other people.”

      I really love this idea and so I really love that you saw/felt this in this poem. That means more to me than I can say.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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