Where We Left You Off

by Bill Howell

“Everything written is as good as it is dramatic. It need
not declare itself in form, but it is drama or nothing.”
– Robert Frost, A Way Out [1929], preface

Radio is community,
yet most people listen alone.
We might live
at the far end of a one-way street
but you don’t have to shout
to reach us. You get to talk to
an audience of one. That’s where
We Singular becomes a Plural You.

Our sets & costumes:
sound, music, and silence.
What matters most is what’s in front of
the mic in the first place.
Your voice accrues context
simply by speaking.
Or choosing not to.
How little do you have to do to nail it?

People in radio plays know
who they are.
That’s the illusion that makes them
worth hearing.
Work it from the inside out,
letting us imagine
the scene your character happens to be in.
If you envision it, so will we.

Behold these banks of blinking console lights,
they might be stars.
What you’ve had to say today
will be paced & pasted
in relative sequence:
staged escapes
aching to be related. That’s where
you join our episodic journey.

As if our remains could ever belong anywhere.
As if mere currents could begin
to mix real choices.
Yet we keep returning, old friends,
to where we left you off—
our latest broadcast forever probing time & space
for the rest of its first audience,
leaving you wanting more.

— from Juniper Volume 2, Issue 1