Little Essay on Communication
Safe to say that most men who want
who would use that word, are shameless
and their souls long ago have drifted
out of their bodies
to faraway, unpolluted air.
Such men no doubt have learned women
for communication, that it's the new way
to get new women, and admission of weakness
works best of all.
Even some smart women are fooled,
though the smartest know that to communicate
is a form of withholding,
a commercial for intimacy while the heart
hides it its little pocket of words.
use the word too, everyone uses it
who doesn't have the gift of communication;
it's like the abused
asking for love, never having known
what it feels like, not trusting it
if it lacks pain.
But let's say a good man and a good woman,
with no motives other than desire
for greater closeness,
who've heard communication is the answer,
sign up for a course at the Y,
set aside two hours in the week
for significant talk. What hope for them?
Should we tell them
very little, or none at all?
As little or none as there is for us,
right to the heart, and still conceal,
who've loved many times well into the night
in good silence
and have awakened, strangely distant,
thinking thoughts no one should ever know?
Stephen Dunn, What Goes On: New and Selected
Poems 1995-2009, W.W. Norton, 2009.