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Secrets of Wine
You can only get so far with poems on the page. At some point, you
must hear them in your own voice,
or someone else's, out loud, in the air, with all of poetry's cadences and music. At a
poetry reading, like the monthly poetry hoots or Beat Night, the voiced poems mesmerize,
captivate and remain in your mind long after the event. About so much more than the words,
here, Matthew Gallant gives voice to the sensual experience (note the smells, the tastes,
the hammered copper of the tables) of being a listener.
Secrets of Wine
After a sip of water mid-poem, her secrets
melded with our toasted sandwiches; images thick as chowder,
her words poured over us like perfect oyster crackers.
As I wrote how the hue of my wine matched
the metal tablecloth hammer-beat 'round
the square edges, another kind of silence settled
as she shared her love with us, the portrait of an ageless audience.
If I were that microphone stand in front of her,
we would waltz hard through private vineyards,
forging paths where they never were before
toward oaken tables lain among common stones
where we'd drink wine from grapes our own feet mashed,
but the evening was complete before it was over.
Tardy, I sat among strangers in the back of the room
as unlucky number thirty for the open-mic, sipped copper-white wine
with my eyes open and noted afterward that each poet
was equal to half the glass.
Matthew P. Gallant
"Secrets of Wine" copyright 2006 by Matthew P.
Gallant. As an English teacher at Timberlane Regional High School, he teaches
second track freshmen and seniors, coaches winter and spring track and maintains his
sanity by doing as many poetry readings as possible. He has been writing poetry and
stories since eleventh grade and hopes to get at least one piece accepted for publication
before he turns thirty (two years and counting); in the meantime, he continues writing.
Please note: Poems submitted to this column should not exceed nineteen lines.
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