Frank Mitchell



Plastic comb.
Twenty reeds.
Ten holes.
Black box.
Oskar brand.
Fourteen dollars.
Bright metal.
Soft sound.
Copper taste.
Much spit.
Last instrument.
Not guitar.
No calluses.
Not piano.
No pedals.
Just voice.
And breath.
And tongue.
And lips.
And teeth.
Like kissing.

Straight harp,
C chord.
Old songs.
Lone Ranger.
My Sunshine.
Red River.
No applause.
Dust collector.
Many years.
In box.
In pocket.
Time passes.
People come.
People go.

Harp remains.
In college.
Pull out.
Fingers curl.
Familiar metal.
Top plate.
Red rust.
Clean it.
Bright again.
Instruction book.
Cross harp,
G chord.
Blow one.
Draw two.
Do dah.
Do dah.
Much sound.
No music.

Tap tongue.
Cup hands.
Keep playing.
In car.
On street.
By park.
Draw in.
Note curls.
Falls down.
Rises again.
Long silence.

Late night,
Talk loud,
Blues sound.

Developing an idea – kissing

I have here in my notes that I need to do something with the following lines: “Just voice. / And breath. / And tongue. / And lips. / And teeth. / Like kissing.” Not within this poem, but my writing group said they would like to see the idea built into a poem of its own.

Don’t know; we’ll see. Kissing is not a subject near and dear to me, so I don’t know that I’ve got enough material to draw from.

“Kissing–and I mean like, yummy, smacking kissing–is the most delicious, most beautiful and passionate thing that two people can do, bar none.”

Drew Barrymore

However, enough people have talked about kissing, that I could probably make a poem out of kissing quotes. Stolen kisses maybe. Something balladic and old fashioned romantic with knights and dragons and damsels in distress; I could see that working out.


15 December 2004

“Is there anything in this world more sacred than the love between two people? If there is I haven’t seen and wouldn’t like to know it. Love is hard enough to understand. The rules are simple and complicated at the same time. Paradox upon paradox make up every moment of every day. Then to top this there is the main symbol of love. The most important exchange between those in love. A kiss.

What is a kiss? Is it really that important? Break it down. What does it consist of? Two people pressing their lips together. Even one sided kisses of pressing lips to perhaps a cheek or forehead. Obviously the power of it derives in the mouth. Is it because the mouth is our main communication . center…words spoken without talking? A whole other debate could rise from this.

Is it the exchange of saliva? This cannot be otherwise being spat on would not be an insult. Perhaps it is the acceptance of the persons saliva. Is the mouth too broad? The lips maybe. Is it the amorphous ability of lips? The control we have over them to make a kiss unique? Does the shape of a persons lips pre-determine them to be a bad kisser or is it their control? Do certain shapes go together? Can mouths be made for each other? Does experience really improve one’s ability? Seemingly not. (A confession: Despite the lack of experience in kissing on my part…apparently, I am still a good kisser.) Perhaps it is the staying power of a kiss. Intercourse while meaningful will stop in old age. The physical ability goes away. Yet even in old age, the ability to kiss is there. A kiss is eternal.

As I say it is a communication without words…like any other communication…it is important to listen. Put yourself behind your kiss and you will be good at it. There it is! A kiss is a transference of soul. When you kiss…truly…part of them enters you…that is where the attachment begins. Once you have part of them the mix is incomplete…the draw is to complete the mix…to balance the part of them within you with the part of them. Maybe…consider this. Be whimsical. Be playful. Passionate. Loving. But whatever it is…be true.

Damn I’ve needed this sort of discussion…gone too long.”

Ben Ulmen

I’ve needed this sort of discussion too. Fortunately, I’m coming home today, and then we get a whole month to catch up on stuff.

Kissing as communication. Makes me think of some of the things we discussed in my literature class when we got to our unit on Italian folktales. Humans have a deep and driving desire to communicate, and a lot of our communication is non-verbal or deeply intertwined in the nuances of sound.

We indicate meaning through the sound of our voice, the emphasis we place on words. Do we pass the same information along in a kiss? What does the shape of our lips, the taste of us, tell the person we’re kissing? Soft, hard, gentle, biting? Eyes open? Eyes shut? We shut our eyes, the world drops away; we’re more there then and the whole experience becomes much more sensual (at least for me).

Reduce your world to the simple press of one person’s lips against your own.

Breath, breath is important as well. Something about simply breathing, existing, harmony. Two people who fill each others gaps. You said it best with, “…the mix is incomplete…the draw is to complete the mix”. Balance. Find yourself in someone else. Discovery and exploration are important too. You can’t stop growing; you have to keep learning, about them, about you. Problems arise, but you have to deal with them, have to work together without burdening one party or the other.

Can you find yourself in a relationship, or do you have to know yourself before you get involved? Circling back to my whole desire for autonomy thing. Independent existence and the sum is better than the whole of its parts.

I used to think, “a kiss is just a kiss”, but there is meaning in every gesture. It’s important to know the meaning before you make the gesture.