Chris Chamoun- The problem of other minds.

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I had the pleasure of listening to Chris only once so far at a Poeticians event in Beirut. He was charming, surprising, thoughtful, funny and a delight. I am so glad he joined us and sent me this poem to share with you. More on him under the poets section and as for the last statement of his bio, I totally agree.

Thanks Chris.

The Problem of Other Minds

by Chris Chamoun.

I – A spark.
Then a million more and
gone is the peaceful surrender
to the ebb and flow of my
breath – I exhale with some
final soft strokes of the
tongue and these sounds fly
into the universe and thus
the others are meant to
know what I am feeling
If only the whole story were
so short, or so sweet, or …
I know it is not so.
The word “you” is a flexible
word; you are only you if I,
the speaker, am looking at you (or you).
This is dedicated to an everchanging you.

II – You are an image without a
memory – only light has
been kind enough to touch
you, then touch my eyes.
Somehow I notice you and
a spark then a million more are
painting a new picture
of conclusions, of capricious truths
that are glowing fire for a moment
then swept away like the last drop
of the painfully red sun at dusk.
Do not speak; do not glance at me.
Let me keep you for a moment,
fleeting nameless. Something about you
is beautiful, somehow. Just for a second
my breath stopped.

III – To get my feelings to you,
I must burn them once and
a million times more and with
their ashes command my
lungs and tongue to say
a sequence of sounds that
are no longer my feelings.
Show me what you’re
hearing… but of course,
you cannot. You are in my
eyesight. Yes, that close and still
worlds away.

IV – When I cannot see you,
you are a memory without an image,
frozen until a spark
wakes you up, in a moment’s
chance, and a million more
paint a picture alive with
color and with feelings that are
glowing fire, white hot metal
that sweeps away coldness like
the last drop of ice upon your
tongue when you sip your Manhattan.

V – What is the word for the
million and one more sparks
that fly around in some
breathtaking pattern when
you are there, somewhere…
could be anywhere?
If someone dies in a room,
unaccompanied but by
silence, and their last
sentence, heartfelt, unheard,
begins with a “you” or
ends with a “you”,
don’t you wonder who that
you might have been?
It is worth wondering.
I’ve seen an aura in a
bath of red and I still
have not forgotten.

VI – “Let me explain why I’m right…”
Every conversation secretly starts
with some whisper of intention.
Every word is a smear of ashes.
Once, a spark and a million more ago
it was a capricious desire hiding its
face behind the present moment.
And after every word, in the
imperceptible space before the next,
when you’re not really thinking,
there is a tiny drop of what
might have been and isn’t…
what was real when it was nameless.
It moves down the back of your neck
and along your spine, where you
can’t see it.

There are many things that make life
worth living. None of them involve talking.

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