A Brief History of Babel: by Robert Okaji

Borders, windows.
Sound.

Trudging up the steps, I am winded after six flights,
my words smothered in the breathing.

The Gate of God proffers no favors.
When the spirit gives me utterance, what shall I say?

Curiously, no direct link exists between Babel and babble.

A collective aphasia could explain the disruption. One’s
inability to mouth the proper word, another’s
fluency impeded by context.

A stairway terminating in clouds.

Syllable by twisted syllable, dispersed.

Separated in symbols.
And then,
writing.

To see the sunrise from behind a tree, you must face
east: higashi, or, a discrete way of seeing
the structure of language unfold.
Two characters, layered. One
thought. Direction.
Connotation. The sun’s
ascent viewed through branches
as through the frame
of a glassless
window.

Complexity in simplicity.
Or the opposite.

I have no desire to touch heaven, but my tongues reach where they will.

Who can know what we say to God, but God?

And the breeze winding through, carrying fragments.

 

Listen to a reading of the poem by the poet:

You can find more poetry by Robert Okaji on this site or on his blog HERE . A collection of Robert’s poetry is available in his chapbook “If Your Matter Could Reform” which was published as part of the the National Poetry Month series by Dink Press 

~ by bonniemcclellan on February 1, 2017.

7 Responses to “A Brief History of Babel: by Robert Okaji”

  1. […] poem, “A Brief History of Babel,” is up at Bonnie McClellan’s International Poetry Month Celebration. She’ll be presenting 28 poems following this year’s theme of “Neural Networks: […]

  2. Congratulations on opening this year’s International Poetry Month!

  3. This is perfect! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the month has in store for us!

  4. I loved hearing it read! Thank you.

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