Ted Clausen's third grade Haiku teacher would say that he started being
a serious writer in October of that year. His passion for all things 'letters
and words' has led to a career as a public artist using vernacular text
(tedclausensculpture.com), as well as a professional calligrapher
(tedclausencalligraphy.com). He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts
(USA) with his partner Jay, and Buddy, the slow-witted furry one, and
writes in his little glassed-in room out in the garden.
I Wanted You to Know
After the so-slowed blips started to flatten
on the screen, the separation I expected
didn't happen. First came a stillness woven
gratitude, then wave-crested exhales—
so many, as though I was getting rid, one after
the other without needing to draw back in.
That's when the light, a welcome sear of white
shuttered my eyes, smooth-oared me along.
A sudden sense of always will belong has not
gone away. I'm next to you, losing the ways
it was all put together when I was with you.
It's not complicated. It's vast.
Now, long arcs of what used to be breath
shine the almost rain that's always falling here.
What if I finally decide to caution my steps
to the path on the rim of our canyon,
make a small gesture, say, pick up a rock,
hold it with care, mold my palms to warm
its shape, look close at the grains, the spaces
of silence between them, name, count and measure
what might not be our pieces of distance,
what if I raise my arm, arc the stone into the fault,
will you see it heading toward you, will your arms
reach out for it as it aims to get through, what if
it lands behind you, some skirmish in the dust.
Not Needing to Make
Here in the sun-reamed forest vines crawl
up bumps of mottled-green moss
napping along the length of this tree leaning
its creak into the wind. Usually I go to work,
use my pen to order the misshapen layers
of that scorch-hued pile of leaves, edges curled
with loss, into words that match
our want for them. But here, now,
tracing the gnarl that sapling makes
tight round an angry crack in that face
of night-starred granite, the making's
not enough. I want the swarm layers
of tremble in each and all of this
to stun till my hand is stilled.
One Try at Forever
Hundreds of them wait in a line
in this yard, the front of each stone
the size of a house-for-sale sign,
each side as deep as a still hand. We pick one out.
The men wrap it in thick-quiet felt, the machine
lifts the weight they cannot carry, swaying
it, slow-care into the shop that's built
between that silent line of identical granite pieces
in the yard and that rectangle of soil, a day's
drive away, signing the paperwork yesterday
for your final specific quiet. In the cavernous
concrete room, machines shape stones, too loud
to talk, white dust on our sleeves. Thick-gloved hands
nudge, land the stone on the cushioned table,
we triple check the spelling, they roll it into
the biggest machine, close the door,
flip the switch, the sharp end of the tool
drives down, deepens your name to dark.
Back to Front.