THE SLAVERY OF LOVE

Image result for the islamic muse in painting

If she knows you are trying to manipulate her

To restrict her freedom,

She won’t take this lightly.

A self help video

Told me a great secret to know:

Add the phrase, “you are free to choose”

To everything you say.

Otherwise she’ll go.

Freedom will be defended to the death.

The one you love, even to lose love, will go away.

But you don’t need to convince me

Of this. I see it all for what it is.

Think outside the box, they say. Accumulate

Capital. Don’t work for someone else.

Be entrepreneurial. Don’t wait

For others to tell you what to do.

Build a skyscraper. Don’t feed on filth.

Don’t hide and breed like a rat.

Cooperation is key; only the best

Build the quiet dreams of the democratic West.

Yes! Freedom! But—I only listen to my Muse.

She’s calm. She doesn’t hate Jews,

Who cleverly build wealth—good for them.

They’ve been hated, they want freedom—good for them.

They don’t want the woman in a shawl.

Will Islam succumb to freedom. Will the veil, too, fall?

My Muse is not desperate. She smiles

And gets along with everyone: the slaves,

Those who don’t want to be slaves. She sees

Every motive in my mind, the lazy

Desires, or those slightly crazy.

Nothing escapes her. Is she free?

No one but my Muse is free.

She hurts me and cures me,

But I want to be cured.

She says whatever she wants to me,

And I, enraptured, listen.

She doesn’t pretend I am free.

I know I’m not. My slavery

Is love. And she knows that she

Will be loved, even if I’m on the bottom,

Her face looming, spitting at me from above

In the most reckless manner,

Crying, wailing, helpless, telling me,

Call this poem—The Slavery of Love.

I do.  With certainty, or doubt.

This is my pleasure. My only pleasure.

Until my lover who hates me finds out.

 

 

 

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LIFE IS NEW

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Life is new. Life is new.

You have no idea how much this is true.

Do you know how much is forgotten and old?

Which laughed and burned, but today is cold?

You don’t believe how old the old is, do you?

It’s unbelievable how much is old; a few

Minutes ago is dead, and that’s not life. Life is new. 

The world, old and forgotten, is vast.

You sit on it, new—compared to the past.

Have you examined the shop which sells old things?

Beauties now forgotten? And unknown kings?

Dust and darkness fell upon the bold,

The world’s fame to ignorance was sold.

The songs—then—would be popular—now.

They are. Look. They will tell you how

Old things become new, then old, then new.

Some—who are dead—look exactly like you.

The night and the night’s bells don’t remember each other.

Nothing does. Don’t surrender.

And that moment in which she—

The one you loved! What did she do? The past is sketchy.

The past is troublesome. The past won’t do.

Your odd dreams are dead. Life is new.

The cover of an old book on Yeats. The dry river bank still thrills.

Dreaming closets. A painting takes your eyes into squiggly hills.

Here. Bring this picture into the light.

The color one. Look. Here you are in black and white.

Tears! Nostalgia! The blank and writhing world still loves you.

The world, seen, has nothing else to do,

So woven clouds move to this cloudy street where you

Duck out of the shop, in reverie. Life is new.

 

 

BOMBARDED BY RICHES

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Every morning I am bombarded by riches.

The darkness told me not to get up,

But with focus, super-human, I picked out, and put on, my pants.

A poem is a minor thought,

My ordinary movement, a dance.

The sunlight in a puddle is Renaissance art,

The air in the train is warm, made slightly warmer by a fart.

Who farted? A question for the ages.

Who is guilty? Give them higher wages.

The most beautiful has some creepy and ugly, too.

This morning is exactly beautiful. And exactly true.

The exact is reality. Focus on that,

Not what someone says about the weather.  Don’t. Shut up. Take your hat.

The exact is what you always do.

So you are beautiful in this morning, and true.

But the exact enslaves you, too.

Love is exact. Just you.

Poetry is unfortunately exact. Isn’t that true?

 

 

 

INSOMNIA

When Mr. West wakes,

He checks his clock

To see how long the night has dreamt.

He checks his clock to see how long

His life into a dream was bent.

Did his dream invent a song?

Mr. West checks his clock.

How long did his dream keep his life from harm?

His dreams swim in dreams.

His life is a preface to a dangerous alarm.

He checks his clock to see if the clock dreamed.

It did not. But still he’s alarmed

To think his dream perhaps by his life was harmed.

He checks his clock. He dreamed

Longer than that, it seemed.

POEMS ARE NEVER WRITTEN

Image result for the bright dew in renaissance painting

Poems are never written. They ooze, they drop,

Like tears, from saddest members of tribes or nations.

Poems are not made by those on top;

Only by those in exile, looking for revenge.

Poems are never written by the witty,

Only by those reclusive, broken, or sad.

Don’t trust the lightning poems of the verbose

Dashed off by seducers in the city,

Voluble, punning, ironic, glad.

Equality is impossible, the gulf

Between death and easy songs too large.

Poetry is the dew that never vanishes,

Gleaming in sorrow beneath the stars;

Poetry is not a prize for the wealthy,

But the sorrowful glory that is ours.

 

IS LOVE MUTABILITY, TOO?

Image result for percy shelley in cavern in painting

Who could have wed

Those images of fragile life to this poet, now dead?

The slender poet, who died at sea,

Who called you a midnight cloud?

Who, despairing of himself, courted natural scenery,

Sun, cloud, moon, mountain, sea?

Cavern, with stream in it, dark and loud?

All readers found

This poet’s death more than profound.

It almost makes me want to die,

Before I’ve crossed my last “t,”

And dotted my final eye.

Is love mutability, too?

Is all porn ephemera?

Is it all acting for the camera?

Or is this couple, panting and kissing, like you and I,

In love for all eternity,

Infinite and true?

 

INDIAN POETS IN ENGLISH

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Linda Ashok believes poetry is a way forward.

Linda Ashok is a poet from India with a deep and abiding interest in poetry being heard and felt around the world. English, fortunately for English speakers, is a window into Indian poetry (and India) which any lover of poetry (and humankind) would be wise to use.  She has been kind enough to send Poetry Mail our way, of which she is founder and president, and this number is organized around “read  7 Indian poets a month” (84 Indian poets, through January 2019).

We could not resist.

Curiosity will never be satisfied, but Criticism, its enemy, can produce, selfishly, moments of satiety and rest, as the Critic deludes himself into thinking perhaps poetry, in pieces, and as a whole, can be grasped and explained and understood in a somewhat satisfactory manner.

What follows is a brief Criticism of the February 2018 Poets—the First Seven, as chosen by Linda Ashok, and now altered, every so slightly, forever, by Scarriet

1. Aryanil Mukherjee
HarperCollins Indian Poetry in English (2011), Indian poetry issue of TLR, engineer, lives in Cincinnati.

A scientist, Mukherjee, writes scientific poems—what is a scientific poem?—alas, there is no such thing.

Mukherjee writes poems like a scientist—or, more accurately, writes poems for scientists who might think this is the way a scientist should, or would, write a poem.

Can poetry be brainy?

It can be. But poetry tends to rebuff smart. The smart will not be placated, however. If a poet is smart, why should they let mere poetry tell them what to do? They are much too smart for poetry. The whole modernist tendency, which impacts so many, is to eschew grammar and use simple juxtaposition of words to generate interest. This wields tremendous power—too much power, which is the problem, which is why there is so much tedious and obscure poetry by otherwise extremely smart people, and why this type of poetry is always best in small bites. We will quote a single stanza of a longer poem by Mukherjee. The phrase “blue liberty” is a poem in itself.  Note the lack of punctuation marks. It is all about putting “liberty” next to “blue.”

how much of yourself do you reflect in this wood
how many mirrors have you seen
the apple under sky was expected to be blue
wasn’t it?
is blue liberty? what does the atom say?

We don’t know what the atom says, but we will think about it for a very long time.

2. N Ravi Shanker
Lives in Palakkad, Kerala. His book, Architecture of Flesh, was published in 2015 by Poetrywala.

We love his strange poem, “Bullet Train,” which opens, “The Shinkensan Model accelerates to 217 miles per hour, cutting journey time to 3 hours from Ahmedabad to Mumbai,” and ends in the following haunting manner:

This train now will pass through
Under skin arteries and veins and nerves
Tunneling through bone marrow and muscles
Till it comes to rest on a magnificent spine bridge,
perched like a toy train in a full moon night
till the slightest breeze causes the compartments
to topple into a depth less soul, one by one.

3. Kazim Ali
MFA from NYU, born in UK to Muslim parents in 1971.

We quote the following short poem, “Autobiography,” in full—lack of grammar (sense) is the poet’s artful use of suggestion—the lack of direct meaning and grammar (including punctuation) is the poetry.  Indian poets writing in English have been swept up by Anglo-American Modernism as much as anyone else.  Poetry which tells nothing, and only suggests what it means, strives to satisfy the most important criterion of the New Criticism—poetry is that which cannot be paraphrased. Ali’s poem, “Autobiography,” more than meets this critical standard.

we didn’t really speak
my summer wants to answer
.
the architecture doesn’t matter
this is not my real life
 .
when I am here I want to know
why do I believe what I was taught
 .
a storm is on the way
close all the windows
 .
begin at the earliest hour
is there a self
.
It is what Ali’s poem doesn’t say which makes the poem powerful.  How is it possible to speak about a poem which doesn’t say anything?  Is “Autobiography” the kind of poem which ends all Criticism, making the critic astonished, and mute?  Modernism was ushered in with Imagism, and the reticence of the image played a great role in moving on from the oratory of the 19th century. However, (up speaks the Critic) in this poem we notice that there’s very little imagery, but in fact a great deal of activity in terms of stage direction/speech/action: “speak,” “answer,” “believe,” “storm on the way,” “close all the windows,” and “begin.”  The Indian poets are not resigned. They don’t rest.  And yet, a modernist minimalism is still at work.

4. Binu Karunakaran
Online journalist from Kochi, India

To quote Karunakaran’s poem “The Railway Platform Weight and Fortune Telling Machine” reveals how much he fits into what we have been saying about the previous poets.  There is a marked fascination with everything artificial, presented as both comforting and strange—as if modernity were destined to be friend and enemy.  Is this kind of poetry sensible? Or schizophrenic?  I assume the latter, since no one really wants to read “sensible” poetry, do they?  Of course a smart person is usually sensible, and the Indian poets all seem particularly brainy. Is technology a horror, a toy, or a comfort?  We aren’t really sure.

looks like a casino sun
flowering in the night, full
of calibrated science, flashing
coloured lights and a Newton’s
disc that refuses to stop
spinning until the last pollen
of weight left by that moth
of a man before me is blown
away by the wind from the train
that passes. After a throated
clang it spat out a cut cookie-
coloured card on which is
written your lucky number
and a hooking line about fate
in proportion to your weight
in the world.

5. Nandini Dhar
Teaches at Florida International University and also lives in Kolkata.

“Map Pointing At Dawn,” by its very title, throws us immediately into the modern Indian theme: science bumping up against nature—it obviously consumes the modern, educated poets.  Here’s the first 8 lines.

When we tear the petals of polash with the edges of our fingernails,
we are claw-marking our ways into a history of rust, from which

the little girls are to be kept buttoned up. A night-storm is carving
the polash-petals; manipulating the effulgence of a bruised sun

to fashion its crimson. Ghost Uncle is a calligrapher who cannot hold
a pen between his fingers. This is just a sentence in this history of rust

we are trying to creep in. This history of crimson petals illustrated
with upturned nails, secret rooms at the back of a police station:  interrogation.

Dhar’s style is matter-of-fact; she does not choose to jettison grammar and punctuation, but the fragmentary syntax, the fragmentary meaning, is the same.  Social commentary replete with horror is indirectly stated; good poetry is indirect.

6. Sumana Roy
Lives in Siliguri, India and has published in Granta and Prairie Schooner.

Roy’s poem, “Root Vegetables” gathers together a theme and puts it on the table for you—all these poems so far have been tangible, material—not flighty, or airy; the Indian poets are smart, observant, grounded and serious; and this poem is no exception, though it is less fragmentary, and can be paraphrased.

Root vegetables are less beautiful and more profound than plants which grow above ground—“just so, that taste, the righteousness, of vegetables/that grow below the earth, hidden from light.”

Roy gives us a clever but blatant contrast with light: “The dew on green each morning is politically correct, being equalist, and only a gesture. For darkness drinks less water than light.”

The rather grandiose “pathetic fallacy” argument of the poem ends appropriately enough: “When, at last, they are forced out of the ground…they discover fire and utilitarianism,/And knowing both, realise that life is as ordinary as food.”

The Indian poets bend over backwards to appear rational, sane, and grounded in common sense.  The ‘standing about’ prose style of modernism adds to this grounded sensibility, such that it almost seems modernism was invented for what the modern Indian poets are trying to say. This is sometimes a good thing. It is not always a good thing. The facile is not always good for poetry.

7. Mihir Vatsa
Is from Hazaribagh, India. Winner of the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize.

“My Mother Visits A Beauty Parlor” is another poem which combines the natural (mother) with the artificial (beauty parlor), the overwhelming theme of the new Indian poets.

The story of the poem—Vatsa’s poetry is more discursively intimate than most, which is good, since poetry, after all, is speech—does not end well.  The poet wants to go to a restaurant, but his mother insists on the beauty parlor, where the poet waits outside, “counting scooters.” The panorama of businesses catering to women’s vanity depresses him, and when his mother emerges from the parlor “with shorter hair and sharper eyebrows” he’s not pleased, and she does not speak to him “for the next two days.”  The poet, while waiting for his mother, reflects: “I remember the many TV commercials with smiling women speaking about freedom and other liberating nouns.”  This is a depressing description of freedom, a freedom cancelled by the most material limitation one could imagine—freedom is a noun.  The noun joke is clever, but terribly depressing, somehow.  Trapped in the thing-ism of a noun. This seems to sum up the modern Indian sensibility—stuck in a melancholy, materialistic modernist style, which walls itself up in a perfected type of Imagism (I’m thinking of the English World War One poet, T.E. Hulme) which the Indian poet knows too well, almost too well, so that it slows them down. I would not speak to this particular noun for two days, either.

—The Scarriet Editors

 

LOVE IS LEARNING A LANGUAGE

Image result for spanish lady in renaissance painting

Seductive simple phrases:  Are you free?

You learn the direct and the polite, which is how you’ve always dreamed the seductive is.

The rest is chatter. Or filling out forms.

Where do you live?

A new language seduces you.

With her pronouns.

She approaches you mysteriously.

In that dress. By the mango grove.

People really speak that language. They sing that language in songs.

Why is it all your lovers have been bilingual?

The second language is the mother of romance and song.

Why didn’t you see it before?

She loved the new language, not you.

We are the language. Not ourselves.

Learning a new language is blunt and polite and mysterious all at once.

The promise of a kiss is only the promise of a newer, simpler language.

Simplicity is the seduction. What we call fate sometimes.

Life is simple after all. The genius of ease is all.

That is that. Speech. Translation. Love. That is that.

You are that and new in this new language.

That. That is new.

But noche is something you knew.

Try pushing your tongue forward a little sooner.

Seduction is limited to a few simple phrases;

After that, you are completely on your own,

And it will become very uncomfortable.

Enjoy it while you can. It really is the same old thing.

That is new. This is not.

Are you busy? Will you walk the streets of dark poetry with me?

Lesson number two. Are these your hands?

Lesson number three. How old are you? Can you give me money?  Can you give me a home?

Lesson number fourteen. Here is the world. Here is heaven. They said we can do it.

Are you hungry?

No, my love. I am very, very tired.

 

 

 

 

IF A CRITIC CAME FROM OUTER SPACE

If a critic came from outer space,

With criticisms of the human race,

Criticisms listing vanity or helplessness or sin,

Would be attentively heard—but criticism from within,

Would not be heard—the human race would not be free

To listen—they would nail the critic to a tree.

With rage against the critic spent,

The rage itself would not relent,

But live in the symbol of the tree:

“Do not dare to criticize me.

My only king is gravity.”

Gravity has no voice. Gravity has no face.

Newton’s gravity, invisible, odd,

Suffocates the scientist who dares believe in outer space,

Who dares believe in God.

.

 

ONLY A FAMOUS POET CAN WRITE A FAMOUS POEM

Image result for toothache in renaissance painting

Only a dentist can fix your teeth.

Only a professional instrument

Can find the disease lurking beneath.

Only a bank knows the worth of your home.

Ask the movie star where your girlfriend went.

Only a famous poet can write a famous poem.

Beethoven is too sentimental.

The mass shooter is not.

LSD is good for mind control,

As Ovid and wine worked for Rome.

The best story is absent of moral and plot.

Only a famous poet can write a famous poem.

 

ARE YOU SAYING I CANNOT SAY WHAT I SEE?

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Are you saying I cannot say what I see?

What I’m seeing happened a long time before I began writing poetry.

I’m making this poem as obscure as I can;

I don’t want you to think this poem is the same as the man

Who wants you to see what the poet is telling you to see—

After all, if I tell you what I see,

You’ll confuse the telling with the poetry.

You might say you cannot see what I see.

There is none as beautiful as she,

And from all distances and angles,

But what do I praise, if I assume visibility?

You are right to condemn this poem,

For, of course, you cannot see

Her, and further, she happened a long time ago,

When I first dreamed how poetry

Would depict her in her individual actions—

When I first thought of poets, and their lives, and their factions.

 

AND YOU WHO LOVE

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Here is the future,

For those who don’t like the past.

Days and nights which go too slow,

Days and nights which go too fast.

The sun climbed the sky deliberately,

And the direction and speed

Of the universe was a mystery;

But it was you, and your only need.

Life was nothing but, “how fast?”

So here it is, the future!

For those who don’t like the past.

And you, who loved the past?

Even its agony and fear?

Who love and cling to the past?

The future, too, is here.

 

MY WIFE OFFENDS

Image result for abstract painting husband and wife

My wife offends.

The police and courts cannot help;

Her offense is too small.

But love is spied by all.

A drop of rain which falls on my head

Feeds the industry of bad weather.

The models in their rain gear

Are beautiful and pleased.

At first, my wife teased

Me about the arrival of rain,

And when I lost my umbrella, she teased me again.

The leaking ceiling will drive us mad,

But the courts do not consider this bad.

Who said her love was innocent?

She was happy, but known to complain;

Offensive humor, sadness, rhetoric, argument, and pain,

The symbol which clouds over reason,

The rain that drips down the face of the old,

Above the muddy pit. Shakespeare had dreams

Of this. The weak can breed sympathy;

Weakness can breed resentment, too. The drip, drip, drip

Of doubt does not kill. My life doesn’t break. It bends.

I need to tell someone. My wife offends.

Her insult was too small

To hurt love. But love is surrounded by all.

 

 

DO YOU WANT LOVE

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Do you want love?

You already have love,

It’s yours—you cannot give it back.

Love is always yours. Love is a lack.

When you dare to hold another,

And dare to tell them you’ll be true,

That’s when love flies away;

That’s when love looks strangely at you.

“Who is this, with skin and hair,

With eyes and flaws? Who lives here?”

Desire is all you are.

You are a window with a morning star.

You are a hand unlocking a door

Patiently for centuries.

Be patient some more.

 

MAD

Image result for madman is renaissance painting

I want your love, or I will go mad;

First, missing your love; second, mad;

That’s doubly sad! Which is worse?

Love is precious, madness a terrible curse;

And you will never love me if I’m mad.

Yet this is why I’m mad,

Because you won’t love me; it’s sad

That love always turns into madness,

But love perhaps is mad from the start?

No. Love lives in the gentle heart,

And desires to kiss and bless

The sweet and dear beloved.

When I was first, by you, sweetly moved

To love, you sweetly changed me.

The madness is this. You cannot kiss a tree.

You cannot kiss a dog or cat.

I’m a man. I cannot love like that.

I need your lips, similar to mine.

I need love, kisses, a sprinkling of wine.

Without your love, I will go mad,

Kissing anything. Pathetic. Crazy. Sad.

Rejected only once, everything is bad.

NO ONE IS AS SMART OR AS BEAUTIFUL AS YOU THINK

No one is as smart, or as beautiful, as you think.

Smile at peace with yourself, with this knowledge.

After getting a degree, you stay, and end up working at the college;

What makes these things is safer than dancing with these things on the brink.

A brush with fame at the commencement ceremony,

A nice feeling stayed with you all summer,

Surprised at how good you felt from the second drink,

The nice things he confided made him seem like a fool,

But you let a tipsy compliment flatter,

Intrigued that he would soon be teaching at the school;

His foreign policy creds garish and suspect,

A family friend once owned a condo in Trump Tower,

Some talk of Syria. His handshake was nice when he had to go.

He claimed to know about Putin. On his phone was a joke about Brigitte Bardot.

 

 

 

A MISTAKE IN LOVE

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There are two kinds of errors:

Those we make in hate.

And those we make in love.

Every mistake looks different from afar.

Some fail, like an unnoticed star,

Pining alone up there in the black,

A faint blip of light which wants its girlfriend back.

Someone else uttered something cruel,

Forever a fool,

Thinking it was a joke.

A joke! A joke! God help me, it was only a joke!

That mistake looks like a distant swirl of gray smoke.

A life can be destroyed by a single piece of cake.

How lavish, how sweet, how delicious life sometimes is, how fake!

The jokes and the lies everyone is giving

Are too numerous to count. This is how we are living.

Mine was a mistake in love.

I was thinking about how much I loved you.

You remember? My action which seemed like hate?

It wasn’t hate at all.

Hate is the error itself.

Love is what explains the mistake of its making,

Which is how we slip through the wall.

When you walk to my mistake from the valley,

Going north along the river,

It still stands. The monument I carved

From the woods for you,

When the whole valley was ours,

And trees hoisted their branches in so many different directions!

In the valley, what I did looks like hate, but when you go by

In a plane, it looks like love from the sky.

 

 

WE FALL IN LOVE SO FREQUENTLY

Image result for apollo and love's eye

We fall in love so frequently,

We begin to think falling

In love is a random calling,

As common as looking at a face

In the market, a train, or anyplace.

I only admit secretly to my eye

How easy love is. Women say goodbye

To a roving eye. The insult is

Love’s a look. Unfortunately it is.

Women are touched by looks and story.

They love a little more sensibly,

But loving for them is easy, too.

To love is easy. All that mattered was being loved by you.

 

A POEM IS A SOUND THAT SAYS

Image result for abstract painting black heart

As one who loves science and prose meaning,

I defend poetry in this way:

A poem doesn’t have anything to say

Except that it seems profound

Merely on account of its sound.

Poetry experimented long ago

With utterance as a way to know,

As sound which helps us know where to go,

As sound which is beautiful, and can see,

With sound, you hiding in silence,

Alone, unloved, and without science.

A poet is a piece of curiosity

Who asks, did God make a sound? Did you love me?

 

 

DURING A WARM EVENING

Image result for west end park in boston

During a warm evening,

The grass visible, somewhere behind tall buildings, the sun,

In the privacy of a park bench in a small park,

I sit in languid thought; I think sweetly upon

You, and everything associated with you,

Musing sweetly upon those things, too.

They are sweet, and all my poem brings

Is sweet because of you; you make sweet these things.

There are times when I don’t know what to write—

I prefer to sleep in the middle of the night,

But if you wake me, I snap on the light,

And take up my trembling pen

And write to you, as if our love were new, again.

I prefer to drowse in the middle of the day,

But if you come into my thoughts,

I say hello to you, as if you hadn’t gone away,

As if you were smiling there in all your beauty,

Listening to exactly what I had to say.

I prefer, in winter, the crystalline sleep,

When the frozen, and the freezing, find it difficult to weep,

But if, by the fire, in anguish, you cry

Dimly in my thoughts, in my thoughts I comply,

And by candlelight write a rhyme and then why.

But during warm evenings,

When I sit in the park,

Where we used to sit until it got dark,

Poems are easy; you arrange the things

As if you were writing the things for me,

In love and for love. The poem sings,

And sings with alacrity.

A rising moon brings poems and love.

There it is. Do you see it, love?

 

YOU ARE WANTED WHEN OTHERS WANT YOU

I can no longer praise you.

The whispering crowd is the enemy.

Love is only love in secrecy.

I died when I found out what they knew.

Damn my passivity, and when ambitious men

Make my passivity seem self-satisfied again.

You are wanted when men want you—

Men know I love you, so they love you, too.

Finding love, gangs repeat it,

And once known, fame

Kills the secret,

Removes love from love,

And stamps it with a name.

Why marriage? When I took your hand

Love knew love has no secret plan.

The law to love is a law to ban.

And I can’t prevent it. No one can.

From love’s dream, one of us, in hate, woke.

A thought, once spoken, cannot speak again.

The moment I spoke

You gave your life to other men.

 

 

 

I WISH LIKE A COAT I COULD WEAR

Image result for naked under a mink coat marilyn monroe

I wish, like a coat, I could wear

The impressions my letter created,

When you read my love’s apology, alone,

And you ran to me, in grateful tears.

But when we express what we feel,

It plays along the nerves, and tickles along the love invisible—

The faintest light, which ends its dying flight in evening mist, is more visible,

And the same with my poetry.

You grew into a collection—resented, and lugged home

By students, lost in documents, who ridiculed,

“Here is the best knowledge kept in parchment for the young.”

Coldly my quiet poet’s name became known,

But this fall day, with new chills in the air,

The tickling chill tickling the hairs up and down my arm,

And you somewhere—would you appear?

The weather, the cafés, the people, the boulevard, about the same,

Or never, this was already—was it long ago?

And you, my feelings, and you, and you,

The jacket, or a coat? something you and the world might see,

Is it here, and what else to you might be pertaining to me?

 

WE KEEP ON WANTING THIS

Image result for flowers in renaissance painting

We keep on wanting this.

Even reality gives up after a while,

Unable to conform to our thoughts.

Reality, random thief, enters the home,

Never welcome in the poem.

Facts have no idea what they’re looking for.

And it’s hard to exit through another person’s door.

The art of conversation is dead.  We complain.

We say nothing.  We talk around the stain.

Nature gives up on us, too.

Nature gives sweet flowers to me to give to you,

But winter kills fast.

We want the poem of personality to last,

But it never will—

In every case, to keep talking means you’re an imbecile.

The song must have an end; they all end.

Did you notice this?

A pop song ends, perhaps slowly in a fade,

But it ends. No matter how wild or elaborate its parade.

A symphony ends. The timpani ends. The composer wants to get paid.

What do we want, then?  This or this?

Millions of rain drops quit, as well.

Heaven is great, but not if it lazes into hell.

The bottom grins from the bottom of the cup.

In my beautiful dream the most beautiful face

Was mine to endlessly kiss—

But my dream gave up.

There is only one thing we really want.

To keep on wanting this.

 

 

 

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE NOT

Image result for venus and mars in renaissance painting

We are what we are not.

The pleasure of kissing

Pursued. When?  How?  Why?  We forgot.

The warm chill you were feeling

When she wanted your face,

When hers hovered over yours,

Hidden, the time, the reason, the place;

You drank her in, it was drinking,

When you licked her on all fours;

Neither time, nor space,

Explains what you were,

When, in light, you were kissing her.

You were both what you were not

Because you kissed each other a lot.

The genius, to be a genius, must forget

Anxieties and troubles. He is loving you yet.

All pain he walls off

When he forgets to worry and forgets to cough,

When he forgets to see

You, he sees you in eternity.

You did hurt him. He did fall.

In the pleasure of the present’s idle wing

He forgets all

By remembering.

 

 

 

 

 

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