The Tomorrow Song

a poem by
ZEV TORRES | Editor + Poet


 

  

Usually, when I write, I’m usually trying to capture a moment, or something about a moment or within a moment that, while born in a particular instant, carries over and informs future moments. If things turn out well, that is, if the words at my disposal coalesce in such a way that the resulting “poem” resonates, then I have accomplished what I’ve set out to do, at least with that piece.

 

“The Tomorrow Song” goes a little further. This poem is about the push and pull of the immediate and future moments. It draws on my drive me to write – the competing or complementary senses of joy and urgency, the realization that what is most precious is often elusive, as well as the belief that in our darkest passages we can hone our faculties and find a vein of hope and revival.  

AS usual we don’t know what will happen next.
Tomorrow resides over a crest behind a wall
Under layers of a fabric that has no substance.
At night parts of the morrow peek out:
A stray ray of sunlight
The rumble of trucks loaded with produce
A thought delivered by dream that awakens us
Before we are rested and steeled.

Even before night tomorrow calls to us with its song:
So soon so soon.
We speed up slow down try to adjust
Figure out what to do how to cope.
We juggle stumble bumble
As if our tasks have been placed on a conveyer belt
Sliding by at an incomprehensible speed
Driven by the meaning of
The Tomorrow Song.

Frustrated confused desperate we attack.
And defend. With the word now.
Now is all that matters. Now is what counts.
The answer is now.
We dismiss the past discount the future
Insist that now and only now –
Where we are who we are with what we are doing now —
Living in the now
Revering the now
Will bring us peace.

So soon so soon. Despair.  
For we fear that The Tomorrow Song has
Parted the now
Corrupted the now
Burrowed into the now
Finding itself a home

A breeding ground.
Heartbroken we pause
Consider branches waving gently in the spring breeze
Seedlings floating arrhythmically soundlessly
Petals opening to their first sighting
Of sunlight and flourishing green.
So soon.

So soon this rapturous beauty will pass.
In time bitter winds and blizzards will drive us indoors
Where we will seek comfort in company
Share stories real and pretend
Redefine friends and acquaintances
Reimagine the synastry of our relationships
Never entirely silencing the strains
Of that melody

Again. We pause. And we tremble.
A spark so faintly aglow.
Comprehension. Delight. Relief.
So soon is the song of now
Not an intruder or scavenger
A pariah or fallen angel.

It is the song of motion
Of phases and shadows of the
Ellipse of rotation of the
Appearance and reappearance of the constellations
Of promise upon promise
Of covenants rainbows redemption and return
Of rain in times of drought
And of the thaw that softens the field.
It is the song of an embrace after dark and trying times
And the return of a voice we’ve been longing to hear.

 
 
Photograph by Allison Wopata
Zev Torres
Throughout my adult life, I have steadfastly tried to separate my creative and personal lives. To some extent, that approach was intended to allow me to interact with the "real world", i.e., the working world, without feeling obliged to talk about creative projects. I believe it is also an outgrowth of coming from a family that valued single-minded professional pursuits. Creative interests were best pursued in retirement.

One consequence was that, for many years, my creative life was limited to scrawlings in spiral notebooks, the contents of which were never shared with anyone. However, a handful of people – my wife, and some close friends – knew that I had a storeroom of material, and that I harbored an urge to share them.

As I meandered through a series of respectable jobs – paralegal, business consultant, writing coach, professional editor – I started to open up to a few other people about my avocation. It was the aspiring actors who had to find paying jobs with sufficient flexibility to afford them time to attend auditions, who were the most encouraging.

As a result of the steadfast support I received from those closest to me who knew about my ambitions and new friends who shared creative aspirations, along with a burgeoning sort of maturity, in 2007 I began sharing my work at poetry readings in and around New York City. A few years later, after having been asked to be the featured reader at some poetry events, I took the next step of submitting my work for publication. However, I continued to guard that space between my creative and personal lives, maintaining (or perhaps, pretending) that I prefer that my work stand on its own, without any reference back to my real life. In recent years, as my work began getting published I have started to let down my guard.

So, finishing up where I started off, since 2008, I have hosted Make Music New York's annual Spoken Word Extravaganza, and in 2010 founded the Skewered Syntax Poetry Crawls. My work has appeared in numerous print and on-line publications including Literary Orphans, Five2One's online publication #thesideshow, the Suisun Valley Review and Xanadu, as well as the Spring, 2016 "Poetry Leaves" exhibition in Waterford, Michigan.