Chaconne for My Lover's Hands.

A chaconne is a composition in a series of varying sections in slow triple time, typically over a short repeated bass theme.

"On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind."

- Brahms on Bach's Chaconne in D-Minor For Left Hand in letter to Clara Schumann, 1877

Chaconne for My Lover’s Hands


Regret I wore raw

a silk dress, poured to follow
each fold & slouch of peridot flesh

that met the suede
touch of fingertips
nails nibbled down to nub

the unexpected flange
of a lover’s hands
conspiring to caress

or to crowbar me open
like neon, the unsettled buzz

of lust for ravish holds tempo


Terror I wore raw

into rooms without windows
the beauty of barbarism
being all ways it could have been

nothing binds us
to what is brutal
but a choice

lust for ravish shears
the safe silhouette, the story of luggage
packed to leave him

semiprecious plagiarism
of affections past
unsecured from a boat

useless life rafts


Regret I wore nothing

swore the image
of his hands on my hips
would not stab me

like the dry stems of flowers
tucked into boxes, the death of over-admired
objects hurts to touch

or be touched
by such familiar thunder
when rain bruises us with kisses
because it must

let us rust
into lust for ravish
or what rushes me into chapels

where Joan of Arc once knelt
in a village named after a flea
and the itch of this hairshirt

is just longing
for me

The Warm-Up Routine: I listened to this chaconne and picked three words that kept whispering somehow from the melody and particular measures. Then I wrote into those words and their associations. I do things like this every day as exercises to loosen images and clumped thoughts before getting started on writing. For the most part, I don’t keep or use or even revisit these many warm-up poemings (my notebooks are full of them), but I appreciate when other poets share their practice routines so I thought I’d share mine from yesterday. Which started with googling Trifonov performances and then discovering this fascinating thing called a chaconne, and then using it as a bridge into my warm-up exercise.