Sound Men

In between words, there are silences.
My sound man finds them all.
He marks them with a pencil
to snick them out with his blade.
Hour after hour I watch him,
paring my interviews into clear speech.
Brown silence in various sizes
ticks into the wastebasket:
a quick breath as long as your finger.
a pause you can wrap round your waist.

How patiently he corrects each speaker's diction,
how gently he teaches the tongue-tied
to speak as clear as Demosthenes.

Yet I've never known a sound man
who didn't cherish a shoebox
full of some great man's stutters and slips
and a secret plan to splice them together
into one long nightmarish stammer,
something truly unspeakable.

David Weinstock

David Weinstock ( believes that twenty years of writing advertising is the best thing that ever happened to his poetry.

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