The external promise is also internal.
Just to let you know I know and now
we can move on to other things,
a change, an opposite. The external
threat that's not internal is the external
threat I will do my best to keep out.
I have built the wall. I am convinced
everyone else has too. And I want to expose
those who deny it for the liars or fools they are
because you have to think you're being laughed at first
in order to realize I'm only laughing at myself
and I want to meet you in laughter
more than I want to meet you in love
because there can be no love without laughter
or there can, but I will not meet you there.
It is the external enemy, if it brings music
I may make an exception but music's a form of laughter,
or a promise cloud I strike from
the drunken before disguised--in threat--as after

Chris Stroffolino, "Love as Fear of Love in Laughter"

from Fence v1 n2
Go ahead, sue me if you have a copyright issue. After all, I'm just a dummy.

I just love the sound of this 'un. One of the first poems I ever read of Chris'. It reflects a particularly keen and complex ear for the intersection of music and language, yet it has this layer that subverts poetic musicality by making it less sing-songy, and more syncopated, like some bass player with chops grooving on a simple melody. Unafraid of pauses, knowingly using space in a dramatic & surprising manner (e.g., "And I want to expose/those who deny it for the liars").

Interestingly the following poem pits a timbre that is more opaque and hard (e.g., the predominance of /eks/ and /t/ and /p/ sounds ) against the more pleasant and smooth sounding word "laughter". "Laughter" here functions as a release/relief here both prosodically and thematically. "Laughter" is insisted upon just as people might unrelentingly insist upon bullshit or upon love without music or laughter. Confronting a reader with his/her own self-deception is a dangerous & risky move for a poet, as he risks losing his audience, but the payoff of one successful reading is far greater than the hordes that might be alienated. Poetry that is refined but its perspicacity is interestingly masked by something that is akin to a DIY-punk sensibility. I find it very difficult to write a poem that combines ear heart and mind into something intensely poetic but here's an example that makes it seem easy.

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