“Not Everything I Do Is Magic” by David M. DeLeon

David M. deLeon


Consider, Sally: the way the sun shines laterally
below stormclouds. And the clipped exuberance of green.
And there’s everything that passes by in a single
still moment, there’s the messy kanji of branches,
the superscript of birds. There’s that warmth that someone
you don’t mind sitting there left on the seat before
you sat on it. Lots of little things not worth talking about.
If I said it’s all crap I’d be lying. But I’m lying anyway.
I didn’t do any of that. Someone fell off the rafters
of an imaginary barn and he wore a robe of clean red
and he landed in a daze and, having been sleeping, woke up.
He walked around the imaginary barn and counted the timber
supports and heard the wrens in their hidden nests. Why
did he fall from the rafters? Magic. What were the wrens?
Magic. Who is he? Not magic. The barn falls away
and we can see fields of both green and red and the sky is blue
bordering grey, a color that contains its own promised
color. Sally, there just ain’t enough words to tell even one
story, to tell you even who you are in this, or who I am, or
why the wrens seek warmth and not freedom and are now
trapped in one man’s red-cloaked imagination. I ask you
why are you here? and you just listen, listen on, because
you know more than I do. You know that the little upward bend
of the voice at the end of a question isn’t a waiting pause,
it’s a little hill cliff where we stop and look around and wait
for some clue from the landscape to tell us soon where oh where
oh where are we now that we are here, please tell me.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008


David M. deLeon: “I don’t know anyone named Sally. Yet there she is in more than one poem, not doing anything but listening to me while I throw things together, trying to cobble up some sort of ladder to see out with. And I keep apologizing to her, over and over, because she knows me well enough. Everything’s magic but the magician.” (web)

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