The Abandoned Key, John Grey

Mark Terry, “I Understand Now,” 19 x 4 x 4, mixed media





The dance lacks music.
There are no people either.
There’s no one on the floor.
No wonder it’s so difficult to focus.
And nobody has even bothered to turn on the lights.
This will take more than merely viewing.
Deciphering is called for.

For something really is happening out there
even if it is unknown to me.
I’m drawn to the waltz
where there is no waltzing,
the tango-less tango,
the invisible cha cha.
I just need to emerge from
this deaf-dumb-and-blindness.

This is typical though.
I’ve been sent out on a mission
in which I lack any of the prerequisites.
Rather than observing life,
I’m staring into a void.
How can I live like this,
with nothing but the usual
broad swatches from my past,
an indifferent arrangement with the present
and a future that’s hunched over
the years to come
like a hungry gorilla.
And I am a man
and, from what I can see,
the scenario before me
is not man-made.
It’s a kind of eternity,
a role such nothingness was born to play.

So I must live like this,
with nothing to draw on,
knowing no others in the same position,
this cycle of dancing
that is without tunes, without bodies,
that charts a melody I cannot hear

let alone follow,
a kind of mental calligraphy
of instinct and fancy
that blocks my thoughts from entering,
that is part of me
and yet will not reveal its purpose,
that casts this vast shadow
over the visions prepared for me,
outside of touch, beyond knowing,
the dance music of the heart
in a flat abandoned key.

John Grey

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