I am the yellow light that pools in the corners of hollow houses
Slips and slides, sweet honey on polished empty floors.
I am your reflection in the mirror in the hallway -
Your hair dampened by the rain, clinging to your face,
Shaken by the voice that thunder speaks in.
I am the sound of silent things.
I am a thousand names -
I am Calypso knitting by the fireside, golden loom long left behind
Slippers and cigarettes and ashes and dust.
I am Cassandra in the laundromat, short blond hair, brown-eyed girl
Tough tongue, cheap gum,
Fast-fading visions in the whirling washing-mashine.
I am Calyspso - I am Cassandra - I am Cain in the mirror on long and lonely nights.
I have no name.
What angel? You asked me yesterday
(For you did not see the man with the leather briefcase -
You did not see him grin, all teeth, Blue Danube eyes
Veined hands, rough hands trembling
With the weight of a ballpoint pen, ink like oceans)
What angel, you asked, hearing not the beating of invisible wings
Seeing only a trail of rumpled feathers in the dirt, Jacob wrestling
With the man in the looking glass
Oh, what angel? You asked me yesterday
I tell you, Look, the rain beats down on foggy nights,
December nights, like rivers in the concrete
Of the concrete city.
What angel? Some have rumpled wings, but I - I have no answer, but to say
That one December night I saw Joni Mitchell paving paradise,
Singing something low and sweet, the hard songs of California, an unstrung guitar.
Yes: I have no name, but I will be Cassandra, chewing gum in dusty cars
With oceans glinting on the sidewalk I will hear
The sirens singing, sirens calling, sirens flashing by on limp hot days
That smell of rust and oil.
And I will be, one falling summer day,
Calypso in her rocking-chair,
Will know zwei südlichere Tage more, will say
I can hear the kettle crying, time for tea, oh, my Mother,
The bright day is done.
So commanded, I look up, knowing as I do that I am not
A thousand names, that I am but one,
Calypso and Cassandra, Cain in the mirror and Jacob in the looking-glass
So commanded, I speak:
I have, of course, no answer, but to say
That I am Joni Mitchell paving paradise in the honeyed light
Of dawn, the hollow dawn from the very beginning -
So commanded, I so command:
The hard bright day is done.
Good God, I am the sound of silent things.