Monday, July 17, 2006

In Chinatown

the store is crammed
unrecognizable packages lined up
gaily on the shelves
like colorful flags along a string

we select one of the packages —
the label completely
incomprehensible to us —
just to find out what is inside

despite cheerful graphics
shimmering on the outside
in red, green and yellow
we have no clue what it contains

as the plastic exterior tears
my eyes meet yours

what if the world
suddenly lost all language

and words became
useless things

we reach inside the bag


Blogger robin andrea said...

Oh yes, a world without language, but not without an ability to communicate. Wouldn't that be interesting. I want to reach inside that bag too.

7/17/2006 12:59 PM  
Blogger alan said...

Oh how I missed you!

Your beautiful words remind me of Lillian Gish speaking of this beautiful universal language that had been created in the "teens" and 20's, how wonderful it was to be able to communicate directly without the constraits of translation...

Then someone figured out how to sync a phonograph disc to a projector and all was lost!


7/17/2006 1:25 PM  
Blogger Dale said...


7/17/2006 2:17 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

intriguing thought...

7/17/2006 2:38 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Very compelling poem. (Can't figure out a way to publish an excerpt from it, though!)

7/17/2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

I like that thought!! Grab bags are fun!!

7/17/2006 4:32 PM  
Blogger leslee said...

Oh, how adventurous! Sometimes you don't have to travel very far to get that little dose of foreign travel.

7/17/2006 4:53 PM  
Blogger Sky said...

ok, i give up - what was in there?! ;)

communicating without language is the province of art and music always...and quite often the heart.

7/17/2006 5:51 PM  
Blogger rdl said...

are you going to leave us hanging or will there be a sequel? either way i love it.

7/17/2006 6:59 PM  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

And I thought I was the only one who bought things without knowing what was inside the box...

Have had many mysterious consumer encounters as a result of such behavior.

Love the image and verbiage combo -- go go go MB!

7/18/2006 4:08 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

I'm sure it's not right, that "bag" is better, but I wanted to shorten the last line to: "we reach in"

leaving it more open, not just the bag, but the language we have created to communicate with each other.

Terrific poem!

7/19/2006 4:26 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Robin, I find myself wondering what more we would learn about each other — though I can't say I'd want to lose words!

Alan, I hadn't heard that story before, thank you. I guess the movie industry would be pretty different, wouldn't it!

Dale, thank you. :-)

Michelle, thanks.

Dave, I'm sorry you couldn't find a way, but I'm thinking perhaps I should take that as a compliment itself — something about the unity of the poem?

Pat, I'm glad you agree! It was great fun.

Leslee, this actually was in another country... but yes, adventures come in all sorts of wrappings!

Sky, I think if I told you it might take away from the story. We did enjoy it.

rdl, sorry, leaving you hanging!

Lori, thanks so much. I should have known you'd be another who'd do such a thing!

Brenda, I think you want to do that because I expressly wrote the poem in such a way that you would hear "we reach in," and not just into the bag, within the last line.

7/20/2006 1:18 PM  

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