The Blue Violinist
-After Marc Chagall

They were speaking strange words to each other one night
as we wandered behind them through the village after dinner,
our bellies rounded with wine, with after dinner coffee,
for we were a young married couple, we were still in awe
with each other, with the picnic of our particular phrases
and meanings toward each other whereas they were
clearly older, were obviously well past their dinner hour,
were working something out, something hurt between them out,
and she'd said to him, "you don't accept," those were
her exact words to him, and he'd interrupted that allegation
for a quick instant, had griped about the humid night air,
about the density of crickets chirruping under bluebeard shrubs,
and about the ache in his left shoulder after swimming,
and in turn she'd said, "you don't, you know, accept-
you don't willingly, with a gentle grace, own something not you,"
she said, "you don't own my weaknesses like they are yours,
for instance, you don't caress them." as if all that we present
to each other could be carried, would be assumed as a debt,
and he'd stopped, gauged that remark as it expanded in him,
while above us the blue violinist, floating in sweet surrealism
above the village, his face reddened by vivid charm, by laughter,
his legs crossed in idle joy in the chair, fiddled his barcarole,
painted it, really, like blue happy oxide all over the city,
all over the midnight blue of the rooftops and the cathedrals,
and the white bird, perched there on his high shoulder,
painted approximately the same exact color as the moon,
gossiped, babbled, warbled all the wandering love songs
that the ear and heart seem to need as we twist our head to listen,
as we attempt to talk with each other with our ear and tongue,
(because we are confessors with each other, we must listen-)
and the blue violinist, floating and spinning himself around
and around in his wooden chair over the blue blush of city,
kept expanding over us, over our past, over our future,
over the attractions and wounds we carry for each other
as we walked hand in hand together into our uncertainties,
and the other bird, sitting on the blue violinist's knee, wiggled,
I swear it wiggled the way the blue heart wiggles crazily, for love.

Ken Meisel is a poet & psychotherapist from the Detroit area and the author of five poetry collections: Beautiful Rust [Bottom Dog Press, 2009], Just Listening [Pure Heart Press, 2007], Before Exiting [Pure Heart Press, 2006] and Sometimes the Wind [March Street Press, 2002]. His poems have appeared in Spillway, Cream City Review, Free Lunch, Sulphur River Literary Review, Rattle, Soundings East, and Lake Effect. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761