Andrew H. Oerke
Byblos and Between the Letters

for John Cage

It wasn't the letters, it was twenty-five
slugs of silence between twenty-six markings
that stood for a Whitman's Sampler of soundings.
Twenty-six noisemakers orgied in the garden
and called their babies the Naked Truth.
But it was the silences grew powerful
since they had made communication possible
though they themselves remained deaf & dumb.

Memory became a pattern engraved on cellulose
like faultlines on fingertips & palms,
and still the unruly runes made love
without regrets, endorsed by the vows of silence
from the twenty-five zilches our songs pour through
to get to our brains making minds, not of the sounds
but of time to think before the noise comes pounding
through the pause that wonders & ponders the between,
where we stop, look, listen, and do futures studies.