the nighttime singer

the nighttime singer

A Poem by Jonathan Ballam
"

those voices sucked up their cold hands

"

one pill
nothing.
except for the ether
fragrance rising and falling
between the pages of absence
caught in the blankets.
his head lies, his eyes
continue to swim in
the gyre of midnight.

 

 

two pills
flicker.
the curves of the 's'
fall off his tongue and
leave a spiral on the ceramic.
the morning will slobber
its honeyed tongue, and the
toast will jump
up and panic.

 

 

three pills
somber.
those voices sucked up their
cold hands. the shadows
buried the cuffs. because
the evening wears clothes,
clocks tick time, and tender
ghosts morph into my bones

 

 

tonight.
i hear the soft sounds of the
Nighttime Singer unfurling
the notes of slow chamber music
deep into my veins. my glued-focus
watches the slow dance of velvet
darkness hold me. She unties my
consciousness - still hanging on
with a white hand - and tells me
to rest, and let the liquid night
wash me and slowly evanesce.


© 2010 Jonathan Ballam



Author's Note

Jonathan Ballam
comments welcome

This poem seemed to be so popular that I've decided to add a version that can be rating by everyone. I initially hesitated because of the provocative subject matter. Feel free to give advice, criticism, or whatever the heck is on your mind :P

Third version: People can now view this poem, whether they're members or not.

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...
... brilliantly written ... the structure is absolutely stunning ... from one pill and nothing ... to two pills and a flicker ... then three pills and somber ... the narrative and the journey of the narrator is heart-breaking yet captivating ... from between the pages of absence to ... leaving a spiral on the ceramic to ... ghosts morphing into my bones ... the imagery takes one into a world which is becoming more and more perplexing as it unravels ... and then tonight ... the last stanza ... surprisingly details a calming submission ... as if after high speed driving ... everything slows down until it comes to a complete halt ... a peaceful pause ... but an intriguing one ... one is left wondering about the pills ... one is left wondering if these are final moments before the final pause ... as a reader ... i found it a bit difficult to "let the liquid night wash me" ... as i felt ... the pills were not medication for an ailment but something else ... maybe it's just me ... yet an immensely thought-provoking poem and an immensely enriching read ... i'd have given it the highest rating without a second thought if i was required to ...

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I do like it, that much said, some lines are so tactile and vivid -

'two pills
flicker.
the curves of the 's'
fall off his tongue and
leave a spiral on the ceramic.'

'tender
ghosts morph into my bones'

'She unties my
consciousness '

That being said, yours is a style hard to follow, the more I read the deeper I can dig, but you leave very few clues as to what you are trying to say as a collective - the subject matter flashes as obvious from time to time, and then the one popping of the pill too far, but what is it getting at? Perhaps over time you'll become easier to understand, bit like reading TS Elliot, it's something that needs to be learnt not read. The quality of your work is something I'll never ahcieve, some amazing ideas kicked up from the dust here, it's a mixture of beautiful, haunting images, that the narrator itself, cannot quite string together flawlessly, as would be expected, though I don't know if that is me reading too deeply or intentionally done.

Posted 8 Years Ago


This is really something. So many great lines and images, I love

and the
toast will jump
up and panic.

among the more sophisticated images that was the one that particularly appealed to me for some reason. There's such a peacefulness about the last stanza that belies what I interpret is actually going on in the piece. Really nicely done.

Posted 8 Years Ago


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JC
i can see why it is popular, there is an essence about it, a very vivid somber serene feel...must have been one of those lucid beautiful nights where poems float of you.

Posted 8 Years Ago


And then the one pill too many!
This is wonderfully written sweety! Saddening, interesting also! The unification of the consciousness in the last stanza, awesome! A bleed through of an intense subject matter that also offers the liberating view from this too, as in the sense of the writer! :)
Awesome
xx

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


This is so chilling and awesome all in one. I like one you formated the poem. One pill...two pills..three pills and then to have the second always rhyme tied it all together very nicely. It is such a haunting image but I love it so much I really can't stop reading it. The last stanza really made it for me when you say
" i hear the soft sounds of the
Nighttime Singer unfurling
the notes of slow chamber music
deep into my veins"
That was cool. Great write my friend!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


Really nice work here...I am suitably impressed, the cadence even seems to fluctuate with the number of pills. Nice job great writing.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


your mind as canvas creates a skilful center point of thought which expands outward in streamlets of color~ shading in each line to bring the view closer into its expressive human design~
exotic~

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


You are amazingly gifted. I loved this :)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


oh, oh, oh

this is brilliantly played . . . I want to come back to it

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


What a wonderful poem.. so much impact and such wonderful images.. 'The evening wears clothes",, great line .. i can see that... love this verse:

three pills
somber.
those voices sucked up their
cold hands. the shadows
buried the cuffs. because
the evening wears clothes,
clocks tick time, and tender
ghosts morph into my bones

This has such a touch of melancholy ...
Wonderful writing!

Chloe

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago



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933 Views
21 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on May 31, 2010
Last Updated on July 19, 2010
Tags: people, sleep, drugs, night
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Author

Jonathan Ballam
Jonathan Ballam

Vancouver, Canada



About
Writing is an unexplained energy that flows through us all. I’m not the slight bit religious or sentimental, however I’ve come to realize that writing is a rhythm and a desire for us to pl.. more..

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