In Fiction on February 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm



Why is silence so unsettling?

Why do breathless nights and the sterile sounds of morning

shrink us

like shadows in the sun at noon?

Do the soundless, empty echoes

echo to us the emptiness of time?

Do the vast, unimaginable depths,

sound deep and hollow in their chambers

whenever silence reigns?

Or is silence—

like static dialed to a dull murmur—

simply too full,

too much the tortured twin of the unquiet mind,

made horribly fat by its need to exhaust every subject?

To have every thought.

So there can be

no more?

Silence, like darkness, the absence

of light.

Of time.

Of us. The absence of all, but somehow containing all,

tied tight and waiting to burst into


This is my response to the week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge: Exhaust. 

Now, I don’t consider myself a poet by any measure. I have, in fact, written quite a bit of bad poetry in my day. Nevertheless, I thought this was at least not the worst of the bad poems I’ve attempted, so I thought I’d share it.

Hungry for something a little more solid? Try these: The Feeling of Falling Down // Words for Things // Al in Wonderland

Comments and criticism are welcome below!


  1. True silence lets echo the voices running around the deepest recesses of your mind. Nicely written.

  2. Man, I normally feel very comfortable with silence, but this made me feel the pressure of it, particularly the “horribly fat” bit. Nice work.

    • Thanks Annabelle! I’m actually with you, most of the time silence is a good thing, but I think depending on your state of mind it can start to weigh on you. Thanks for reading!

  3. Beautiful rhythm, beautiful topic…funny instructions just above!

  4. the words pulled me in.
    there’s beautiful rhythm. and there are many great lines but my favorite is this “too much the tortured twin of the unquiet mind, made horribly fat by its need to exhaust every subject”
    really lovely work.

  5. I’m normally a fan of silence, but this poem made it seem “big” and not nearly so pleasant 🙂

  6. The question we should all ask is, WHY do you not consider yourself a poet?? I’ve seen work by Poet Laureates that didn’t pack half as much punch as this beauty, or make such delicious usage of the complexities of our hotch-potch mongrel language…. Congratulations, Brian, you’re a poet and you oughta know it!

  7. I have no words! I love this.

  8. Personally I like silence. It’s when that silence is shared with another person that it starts to bug me (:

  9. I love the idea of silence being “too full.” Nicely done!

  10. I loved everything about this piece. Terrific thoughtful write.

  11. Quite an unsettling poem here. Silence as threat. hmmm.

  12. I love my silent time, but only for a little while.

  13. I liked it! Thanks for showing us a side a new side!

  14. I liked this, particularly ‘sterile sounds of morning’ and ‘static dialled to a dull murmur’. The jury’s still out on ‘echoes echo to us’ for me, but that’s all I’d consider changing. Well done.

  15. I’ve never visited your site and read something that made me say, meh, or anything close to that. This is a terrific poem. I love silence. I even say that on my Twitter profile. I’ll take it any day over small talk. This poem makes you think about the qualities of silence. Your disclaimer made me laugh – I agree – it’s not the worst of the bad poems you’ve attempted. No such thing here.

  16. Love this! So well written. The line “the tortured twin of the unquiet mind” is fantastic. And your choice of words and pacing of the poem itself are beautiful.

  17. What beautiful linesThe absence of all, but somehow containing all,

    tied tight and waiting to burst into nothing.” :-)Though am not the silent kinds-it unnerves me bu I do recognize that silence has its merits too

  18. […] Hideout // Silence // The […]

Comments, constructive criticism, destructive praise:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: