Poems by J. J. Steinfeld

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THE MAGIC OF STILLNESS AND THE CHAOTIC

Some people, lost souls,
caught in the absurdity of noise,
create magical stillness
out of the chaotic
outwitting comprehension.

Other lost souls,
caught in the absurdity of silence,
create the chaotic
out of magical stillness
sidestepping incomprehension.

I, confused by both noise and silence,
adoring absurdity yet not knowing
which is more magical
or comprehensible,
stillness or the chaotic.

AS MYSTERIOUS AS ELATION

As I watched a bird
graceful as the word flying
said slowly and longingly
soar into the sky
the darkness dissolved
not into light or insight
but into a new mystery
as mysterious as elation.

I attempt to recall elation
the shapes of what is loved
the faces of those loved
I ask how many memories
are worth preserving
to deal with the darkness.

Then a suddenness of desire
for shapes and faces
the present burdened
under forgetfulness
the darkness re-emerges
and I think about thinking
the way a soaring bird
might think about flying
if the words were there
like the clouds
beckoning its ascent.

ARE YOU LISTENING TO…?

Are you listening
to the lost causes of time
articulating what could have been?

Are you listening
to the collectors of misfortune
praising the trajectory of sadness?

Are you listening
to your nearly exact double
condemning the smallness of your soul?

Are you listening
to the metaphor-defying shape
claiming what’s left of your life?

Are you listening
to a magician of madness
wanting to make you disappear?

Are you listening
to the various forms of failure
offering you a taste of the absurd?

Are you listening
to your much too long prayers
hoping they are heard somewhere?

Are you listening
to the knowledgeable silence
offering you salvation?

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Canadian fiction writer, poet, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published nineteen books, including Would You Hide Me? (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Misshapenness (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions), and A Visit to the Kafka Café (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions).

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