I WANTED TO PAINT A POEM FROM WHAT SEEMED TO ME ETERNAL IN MY MIND

 

A man cannot say, ‘I will compose poetry.’ The greatest poet cannot say it, for the mind in creation is like a fading coal… —Shelley, Defense of Poetry

Oh poetry revels in picturesqueness;
Bushes, flowers and vines
Coiling around broken friezes,
Odors bursting from slaved-over lines
As you walk in the garden—
Holding your palms out to the rain
Sailing, dropping mistily down,
While workers die in the mines—
Through nodding narrow greenery.
Tourists in Italy stood a long time.
If you can, picture Hawthorne or the Brownings,
The life of literary sculpture
Passing away into a more beautiful music
Which in turn passes away.

EGOTISTICAL SUBLIME

I thought: What is this world?

What is all this? And then I saw four letters

Staring at me from the label on a stranger’s coat,

Their back to me on the train.

T-O-M-S. And it grabbed me by the throat.

“Tom’s” suddenly flashed upon my brain.

The answer was simple, delicate and fine.

The world—everything thought, seen and felt—is mine.

Here is the secret to the whole world.

You couldn’t figure it out, my sweetest girl.

You couldn’t figure it out, psychiatrists and sages,

Priests and gurus, poets through the ages.

The transit authority stamps its “T”

On the sides of trains—and that’s me.

If the truth were announced, everyone would look.

I don’t want that. The secret is not found in a book,

Or in anyone’s mind; it’s not a crude matter of fame,

Because the truth of the world and the world are not the same.

It is the truth of all time, and it begins with a “t.”

I didn’t see it because I was too close to it—the truth is none other than me.

She—who I loved—was never able to see.

She told me that on two separate occasions the answer almost came,

While she was in a meditative revery,

But it was lost! She recounted this bitterly

While I, her lover, listened helplessly,

But now I laugh, for the truth is known—

She almost found the truth because she was profoundly alone

And nearest to the secret—the secret that she was the secret.

But poor blind thing! A searching—but not a great—soul—she lost it.

Though—profoundly timid—she never wrote poetry,

I knew she was a poet—it seemed obvious to me.

“Tom,” she would cry, in our ecstatic embraces,

“Tom! Tom! Tom!” Cried among kisses drenching our faces,

Love speaking my name, beautiful and sublime,

Reminding me! Reminding me! That life is—mine!

 

 

 

POEMS WRITE ME

Poems write me

Even as I die in this boring life

With business matters dangling over the days and the wife.

A sentence keeps me in line.

The soil is usually a line or a phrase,

Which may end up being the pretty flower,

The title, or the poem’s (yawn) most important line.

Helpless, I let creation have its say.

If a line is what struck me first, it will probably stay.

Of course, I may end up throwing what fell from the sky away.

Oh, and the root of every inspiration is you.

In this poem, for instance, you wait in the stem.

There you are. Strike that line. No, that will do.

Poems write what they please. I don’t write them.

PAINTING WITH MY LEFT HAND

The universe spins in a certain direction;
That’s how we know we’re—here.
This line moves at a certain speed:
Music finds its beat.  Conversations are clear.

But it’s not the business of poetry to tell you this:
Science is factual; what’s scientific about a kiss?

I did not wish to intrude on science’s domain.
But delightful kissing will make the kissing poet vain,
So love disguises itself as wisdom, making itself even more plain.

I write right-handed,
But throw with my left hand.
I am going to throw my signature at you.
I want to do something dumb;
Paint with my left hand, to make the drunken Muse come.

THIRTEEN (FOR MY DAUGHTER)

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Life is made for a thirteen-year old girl.

All that is strange and entertains us in this world

Is made for her, from the carefully painted toes

To the old, comedy television shows

Produced by fashionable drunks and their wives

Who make adult situations out of the situations in their lives

Which recall an earlier day and an earlier age

When the playful was more important than the sage,

And history, the wreck we carry on our backs

Needs to be forgotten, so every adult can just relax.

No longer attached to mom and dad,

Too much time ahead, too proud to be boring or sad:

Everyone wants, in their hearts, to be thirteen,

No compromise, nothing in-between,

Too young to be nostalgic, too young to be wise,

And old enough that one burning smirk sits like all the world in her eyes.

 

 

 

FOR _________

Let practical life and its lackeys,
Immersed in details and laughter,
Stand, impenetrable, to my mad poetry and my mad desires.
I can laugh as well as they,
And am warmed by the same fires.
I would not have that practical edifice fall
Or the practical things fail.
I, too, have needs, and must put things in my little pail.
Contemporary art is kindergarten
And yet its billions
Are the envy of bad poets, who number in the millions.
Philosophy wrecks itself on science
Which is a slave
To everything the brutally unscientific crave.
Love is the only glory.
The one I love says: “Where shall we meet?”
This is poetry—this is all—and I fall at her feet.

TAKE MY WORDS, PAINTER

Take my words, painter;
Give them the dark and the light
Which attends creation.
My reader is blind!  Give her sight.

My words are blind. Let her see
Her meaning to me
Travel in her own eyes.
Make her see, for the first time, my poetry

In all its subtle hues and dyes.
Let her see my pleas to her
In our hearts, where worlds occur.

All she hears are futile cries:
“My love, my love, my love!”

Let her watch the lowlands where my sorrow flies,
And walk through the fields of meditation beside the dove.

Speak, painter.
Poetry can say nothing.

TAKE MY WORDS, COMPOSER

Take my words, composer,

And make them your own.

Add music. For I have lost my love

And all I can do is groan.

 

Take this heart, composer,

No longer glad or light,

And fix up my utterances

For a somber and solemn night.

 

Take my loss, composer.

Your music might something keep.

Play my words with music

Until I fall asleep.

IT WOULDN’T BE BAD IF YOU LOVED ME

It doesn’t take much to make me glad:

A dip in a mountain lake, a long walk under stars by the sea.

And it wouldn’t be bad if you loved me.

 

It doesn’t take much to make me glad:

A bowl of strawberries for dessert; on the piano, a melody.

And it wouldn’t be bad if you loved me.

 

It doesn’t take much to make me glad:

Thinking about you. Thinking about you every day.

And it wouldn’t be bad if you loved me.

 

Did I tell you I like Brussels sprouts? And guacamole?

I know. You have your own special recipe.

And it wouldn’t be bad if we had some tea.

 

I like going places alone. I’m a bit of a loner, but not too bad.

Do you like being alone? Does that make you glad?

How are you under stress? How do you handle the mundane?

I like desire, and I don’t mind the clingy—that’s how much I like desire.

 

But you have your doubts that you can always be on fire.

And I notice you are not good-natured. That’s going to get worse.

Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be bad if I thought this out more.

 

This started out as a clever, sentimental song.

How did it go wrong?

Who am I kidding? I made it wrong.

Or maybe this is how it is supposed to go.

I wrote the wise parts fast, the foolish part slow.

 

 

 

A WOMAN IS A MAGAZINE: FASHION POEM NUMBER FOUR

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A woman is a magazine.

A magazine is why most women are horrors.

We all know the beautiful girl is mean

And the one who dresses best is the young teen

In thrown-together combinations wild,

But selling your soul to Conde Nast

Kills your soul pretty fast.

I didn’t know anything in the world

Until I realized she was a Town and Country girl.

A simple blouse and skirt, the center of her casual pride,

Prada bag, leather sandals, pretty watch, wealthy and dignified

The essence of her, the real her inside.

She sized me up as a careless, earnest, poet without style

Who—protected by her Town & Country brand—she could dally with for awhile.

Town & Country is a dual symbol—not two-faced, exactly,

But she liked its implication of social flexibility.

Something in my temples and neck she found vaguely aristocratic.

When I wore blue shirts bringing out my blue eyes,

She knew Town & Country had made her, a poor wall flower, pretty damn okay

By making her pleasant, without having too much to say.

With her love of nature, and her Yves Saint Laurent perfume,

I forgot my learning when she came into the room.

It quickly became a contest, which she knew she could win:

Tortured wordiness versus sweet, casual, Town & Country grin.

I read everything. Even Rolling Stone. My sense of taste was vile.

Town & Country was all she needed to enjoy me for awhile.

 

 

 

 

 

MY POEMS AND MY LIPS

My poems and my lips taste the same
As my flesh, as my name.

A shape—before touching—which you see
Is how my lips first spoke for me.

My lips still have nothing to say
To your beauty on this beautiful day.

Your beautiful name in the night
Swings back and forth in my brain like a light

In the breeze of an approaching storm:
Cold at first, and then very warm.

My poems speak for my lips:
On the ocean of my sighs, the ships.
Do you see my poems, lighted things,
In the mist, longing for shore where the longing shore bird sings?

I told my lips the other day,
My poems, in scintillating array,
Will be a navy for my lips, which cannot say
What it feels like in our hearts when ships take our hearts away.

My poems and my lips are almost the same—
Each made of dust, one crying your name
In a glorious attempt at fame:
Yours—if lips are not shaped the same.

 

 

YOU, ALREADY IN LOVE

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You, already in love, I did not see you there,

When I first fell in love with your shadow,

Who, although a shadow, presented a show

Daring to love me, and loving that I might dare

To love you; two minds embracing all love might know,

As two finally move into shadows with a sigh,

Knowing all they are is about to die.

There were warning signs, that I

Was only loving a shadow—“love is a madness,”

You said, and “everything must finally end,”

And you not wanting children;

I should have known; though I did guess

Something wasn’t right from the start.

I loved a shadow, a shadow! with all my heart!

And you, already in love, simply could not be

The shadow your shadow was when you first kissed me.

 

 

 

 

HUMBLE SITA SPEAKS

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“The Ramayana…is a divine romance…of undying love between Sita and Rama, two aspects of one divinity whose separation from each other…is illusion…acted out for the benefit of their devotees.”  —Self help psychology book

Why should I care about what you made up in your mind?

I’m not your epic poem. Fuck off. I’m not your Sita

And you’re certainly not Rama, you pathetic oaf.

You think if you steep your shit in ancient religion

It will impress me? Words, words, words. Psychology

And poetry and desire and big fat fucking deal. Listen:

Dinner and movie and you pay. Then we’ll see.

You must be confident. And funny.

Hey, put your poetry aside and look at me.

Sita gives all the guys hard-ons so don’t fucking think I’m going to be

Impressed by yours. You don’t know anything. I’ll show you femininity.

I’m better than you. I use you. Finding me might not be a good find.

Poet-Asshole! Why should I care what you make up in your mind?

 

 

 

 

 

EVERYTHING

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I don’t praise Everything, but stand in awe of it.

I had an insight today and realize how much we are enslaved by the everything of Everything.

Capitalism, Everything’s cousin, is disliked, and looking for a pair of socks this morning, I finally understood why.

My drawer is filled with unmatched socks, and as I studied my various dark socks in the light to find an exact match, I asked myself,

“Wouldn’t it be easier if there were One Dark Sock Factory that served all feet, making one dark sock that fits all?”

You see, I couldn’t care less about these subtle varieties of dark sock—and here Everything confronted me—countless varieties of socks exist because someone wishes to make money with their brand of specialized sock.

So I cursed capitalism.  If sock manufacturing were a socialist enterprise, all my dark socks, made from one simple model at a fair price, would match.  The variety of socks in the world—the Everything factor—was wasting my morning, as I attempted to find a match.

Things, the minions of Everything, take revenge against us if we do not pay attention to them.

My shoes, conveniently placed under my bed so I could put them on upon waking, somehow managed to get themselves far under the bed, so I had to bend over and reach for them, feeling about under the bed, in a flurry of curses.

I have been trained, however, to make what annoys me bear fruit.

I notice that nothing falls into place for us—Everything makes things difficult, annoying, and displaced—Everything is unruly and runs away from us: shoes, socks, the sheets and blankets on the bed—which always arrange themselves in such a way that ‘making the bed’ is an odious task.

There is no time for anything.

There is no time to make more time.

Everything is a cage.

We are trapped, and trying to escape traps us further.

But putting our finger on something, articulating the problem, makes us happy for a moment, at least.

More generally, I thought of the universal effort to simplify our lives by simply ignoring a whole host of things—we tell ourselves we will not care about this thing or that thing, in order to make our existence simpler and happier—we will defeat this conspiracy of Everything by excluding a certain number of things from our lives.

But does this bring happiness?

No.

It is in the nature of things, no matter how divided, focused on, or excluded, to never satisfy.

If we exclude this or that in our life and focus on one thing, we think, if we focus on this, then we will be happy—but no, even the one thing we want, as we humbly give up our need for other things, eludes us, or proves disappointing—for no thing wishes to be ignored, and to focus on one thing means ignoring other things.

Things ignored take revenge on us—socks will not match, shoes will run away under the bed—not even one thing we attempt to make ours will be ours—everything conspires to make us unhappy, if we fail to give Everything its due.

We cannot exclude. And the following will illustrate this:

If we put our stock in poetry, and ignore the non-poetic, our most precious poem will be mocked and ridiculed in the public square, and we will be humiliated forever.

However, those who focus on the non-poetic and ignore poetry in their lives—the mockers in the public square—will discover, meanwhile, that a poet has stolen their wife.

You better know Everything. Or you—no matter who you are, or how “expert” you are—will get burned.

No one wins in the attempt to exclude; Everything will have its revenge.

If we attempt to make life simpler, if we decide, in an egalitarian serve-humanity spirit, to make life better by having one dark sock factory, this will backfire, like everything else.  The noble revolution will crumble and fall in despair, and finally, in humiliation.  Up rises Everything, and there shall be countless varieties of dark socks and your morning will be wasted looking for one dark sock to match another—because someone wants to get rich on socks.

I decided not to be bitter towards Everything and to surrender to its power.  After all, I thought, what about those poor souls forced to work in that dark sock factory?  How much fun would it be to be make one dark sock all day?

And, further, what of my own responsibility to organize my socks?  Is it not my sole responsibility to make sure my socks match?  How I launder my socks, how I purchase my socks, how I organize my socks—is this not the important thing?

Respect Everything.

Everything forces us to be organized, and is actually a moral agent, since being busy keeps us out of trouble.

So this, then, is why Everything exists, and why it exists the way it does—for moral, religious purposes.

Is not the Bible lengthy, and full of so many things that it requires long study? Of course it is. The Bible, like all religious texts, and like all documents involved in the legal tangle of capitalism, pay due homage to Everything, which is our true God.

Who has the time to pay attention to Everything? We don’t. Which is why the world is full of dull, unhappy people—even as Everything spreads its riches before us.

Here are the choices:

Bare feet: happy but ignorant.

Mismatched socks: socially condemned.

Matched socks: organized and dull.

And we see this roughly pertains to the three ages of Humanity:

bare feet, the Child;

mismatched, the Adolescent;

matched, the Adult.

The challenge is finally to take account of Everything’s moral nature, respect this aspect of it, and not let it make you dull and miserable, for it will make you dull and miserable if you fail to respect it.

The everything of Everything makes us busy, and this is how it makes us moral. Capitalism, which is the source of so much consternation on the Left, offends as a seemingly cruel and amoral system—but as we have shown, it is really the opposite—think of all the work that goes into producing a certain kind of dark men’s sock—merely because it serves the refining nature of Everything’s expansive complexity: in a word, the Civilized.

Why do we have children?

For one reason, really.

We don’t have enough Time here—so we hand off the task of living to our child: here, you do it. I don’t have time.

And then we find a child takes up all of our time.

Or, we don’t have children because we do believe we have time. We look young all the way to the end of our child-bearing years. Then age creeps in all of a sudden, and we have no children. Too late, we realize there is no time, and Everything discovers even more ways to torture us as we look into the empty mirror.

All the exhausted, unhappy faces that you meet—exist because of how many different kinds of socks there are. We are unhappy, moral, busy—our vacations brief and unsatisfying, our jobs tedious and unsatisfying.

Our attempts to “rise above” the mundane into the realm of love and beauty prove short-lived and untenable, as the spirit of Everything asserts itself, taking revenge on us for our vanity and our self-indulgence, for as soon as we embrace love and beauty, pride makes us irritable and thin-skinned—we continue to knock against Everything; fragile Beauty proves too difficult to maintain. 

We find ourselves in our bedrooms. Tears rolling down our cheeks. An annoying song on the radio. A stupid piece of instant “wisdom” on social media.  Crying over lost love.

And our holy consolation?

Oh God!

Sorting our socks.

Everything crushes us under its Wheel.

Everything, the One True God.

The only thing the fortunate are thankful for, thanks to our God, Everything:

I didn’t have too much time to be unhappy.

 

 

 

OVER

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Is it over then? Has the last note been played?

Must I go home? Without getting laid?

How bitter this ending! Just a minute ago

You excited me with talk of doing something slow

And now you frown. Every inch of your demeanor says, stop.

You are the greatest musician in the world. Did you know?

You can pick up a concert hall and let it drop.

I will now be hungering for the rest of a tune

That ended back there with strings and bassoon.

The solo piano played like the moon.

I will expect its entrance tomorrow at noon.

The concerto resolved, and yet did not.

Forever now! I will dream of that tune.

When provoking desire is an art, a spell,

That a magician, a musician, a woman—does well,

Music and love mutually swell, they mutually dwell

With passion! I cannot speak!

Broken, I composed this poem last week.

If only I’d spoken—instantaneously—the whole

Joke the moment you were cruel! I would have defeated your soul.

 

 

IT TAKES A WHOLE LOT OF SORROW TO BE SAD

It takes a whole lot of sorrow to be sad;
The world needs to pile wrong on wrong
To spoil even one song,
But with a smile you’ve made me glad.

 

It takes a whole lot of sorrow to be sad;
The breezy finds it easy to ignore so much.
The sad lacks the light touch.
But with a touch you’ve made me glad.

 

It takes a whole lot of sorrow to be sad;
Sorrow’s armies are marching up and down.
Sorrow is going to take over the town!
But with a glance you’ve made me glad.

 

It takes a whole lot of sorrow to be sad.
It took some time, but you knew, you knew, you knew
You were the only one I wanted. Come here, you.
In one instant we’ll be glad.

 

 

 

 

RUMI’S LOVE IS HOW I LOVE YOU NOW

Lovers don’t meet anywhere. They live inside each other. —Rumi

Once there was a longing for you so strong
I could not be away from you for long.

I cursed the time away from you;
I was nourished in your intoxicating presence;

Having hungered my whole life for a love like this,
I fed on you like the hungriest animal

And grew mad for more and more of you
And to reach you, wrote you many a poem and song.

 

You were Isolde to my Tristan: passion
Fighting pride, that, even as sweet hunger all our passion won,

Sought honor even in the feeding, our rage
A kind of lust, wings of love stretching in a cage

As secrecy and homelessness cursed our kisses
Even as our love rejoiced in love which the simple eye of the public misses.

Wanton yet proud, your beauty burned like fate in my eye,
My destiny to consume myself as you desired me, in poetry,

Until things like time and place and “when and where will I see you”
Began to weary us, for the love given was never the kind that will do;

Our love had to fight for every inch of ground
Which by reproving public vigilance is drowned.

Exiled every moment, always thinking how and when and where to go,
We’d look at each other helplessly: yes, my love, I know.

Where can we love? Where can love that wants to love go?
There was not a crack in the world we could fit through,

Obligations to worlds and shadows and worlds is all we knew
And our love lay helplessly stretched upon

One shadowy bed; life—which conspires against love—won.
We should have been together constantly,

Harmony chasing routine inside ecstasy,
So love, building with love, not absence,

In constant delight, might have a chance.
The wrong endured became the thing sought,

More absence to aid desire, or so we thought:
I will make her miss me, I shall stay away.

Love! What is it? What shall it do or say?
Until the horror of staying away too long

Became its own prophecy.
Love dying, we did something wrong.

 

Now a sword lies between Tristan and Isolde.
Eternal love has surrendered to the dying world.

You look away, you cannot look at me,
It is not because you do not want to look at me.

It is only the passion and the pride
Of Tristan and Isolde. Tristan and Isolde have died.

Love is reborn in the love which Rumi
Knew as the highest of all.

There is no end. There is no wall.

THE BATH OF LOVE

If the angels are angels
Who swim in the elements above,
We are almost as lucky here,
Who swim in the bath of love.

The bath of love is where we love;
Where the moving waters move,
Our love loves when it gently moves,
As the moving waters of the bath can prove.
When loving loves,
The waters move
To the moving we make as we love.
Your mind and mine are the waters of the bath;
The movement is much, much more than math
But real, like the tiger, like the dove—
In the warm and swaying bath of love.

This is where we go to die,
In the bath of the seeing eye,
A liquid that looks
More tenderly than the brooks
And hidden streams
That lie quietly in our dreams.

When we are away
Every thought that falls will stay.

The bath of love is where we live.
The gentle pushing of the waters
Is how we gently love and give
Where all is loving already
In the one bath, that sways and is steady.
For the one bath is love already,
And contains our infinite minds
Which in the uniting body finds
The back and forth of loves
In crystal waters that gently move.

When the goddess gently knelt
To go into her bath,
All who saw, and all who felt,
Said they knew the ice would melt.

In love the dove flies within
Where the still bath has always been;
In gentle bathing there is no wrath
Or straying. All thoughts live in the one bath,
Where flies the tiger and the dove
In the swaying bath—the bath of love.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IT ISNT THE POETRY I LOVE?

Language is unreal. What’s in the letter

That I carefully seal?

What is it I’m giving to you?

Poetry is something you know that I do.

Love is a pleasure that can always get better

But there must be sentiments that are willing, and true.

How do you know it isn’t the poetry I love?

 

Your face is yours, the one that does the talking all day,

And what will you say to me as you open the letter

And read the inside of what I say?

Nothing belongs to us. Your face is the pretty kind.

I practice to make my poetry better

By sending, each day, a word of myself, which I do,

Like your face that does the talking for you.

How do you know it isn’t the poetry I love?

 

The more I love, the more unreal

You seem; your body hasn’t a thing to say

To what I say; it isn’t the poetry kissing you;

What is opening your letter is strange,

And doesn’t feel like me.

We can hold in our hands the scientist’s chalk.

We want to blast off, yet we are merely gravity.

Our bodies sitting around. The small talk.

How do you know it isn’t the poetry I love?

 

 

 

IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW

If you could see me now, relaxed and fit,

You would know I no longer lament on the benches

Where the sad watch the world pass, where we used to sit.

 

If you could see me now, saying clever things,

Laughing with beautiful people laughing,

You’d know I no longer care what a day with you in it brings.

 

If you could see me now, writing these lines,

My long hands, biting my lip, never looking up,

You would know I no longer care who dances with you, or dines.

 

If you could see me now, safe at last from throngs

Who loved to torture us with curiosity and gossip,

You would know I no longer care to ask why you love certain songs.

 

If you could see me now, without a care in the world,

Flying above dream houses in dreams,

You would know I no longer care for your opinions on this boy or girl.

 

If you could see me now, happy as a lark,

You would know I no longer miss the kisses

I gave you when we took our walks and kissed in the park.

 

If you might see me now, stretched out in the crimson dark, flowers at my feet and head,

Do not move closer or watch me—what other dreams have I forgot?

To see if I am dead.

 

 

 

 

 

THESE KISSES ARE MINE

I want to give you kisses,
More than a few.
I want to kiss your face awhile
As I throw my arms around you.
Perhaps I’m excited by your beauty and the wine.
But just remember: these kisses are mine.

I want to give you kisses,
A hundred or more.
I want to kiss your neck awhile,
The area around your neck explore.
I give and I give because you are fine.
But just remember: these kisses are mine.

I want to give you kisses,
The more the merrier.
I’ll kiss your breasts, your belly,
Even your interior.
My love is yours; my life is yours; yours, this wine.
But just remember: these kisses are mine.

When you go away from me—
Or if you should leave me for good
And take my whole life—
I hope it’s understood
Whatever you are doing: loving, sleeping, drinking wine,
Those millions of kisses I gave you are mine.

SHE DOESNT TRUST MEN ANYMORE

She doesn’t trust men anymore.

One she loved, a long time ago now,

Left her, pregnant, crying on the floor.

You may read about that, in her murky workshop poetry with elaborate metaphor,

But she doesn’t like to talk about that anymore.

She tried a final time with one who couldn’t make decisions

And hated herself for finding him a bore,

Her caustic moments towards him imitating the very guy’s demeanor who left her crying on the floor.

So now, thoroughly self-loathing, you can probably guess what she’s like.

Happy. Pretty. Published. Lots of friends. Don’t feel bad, really, that she told you to take a hike.

INSTANT LOVE

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Is there an instant love?

All love happens instantly.

Love is faster than we can see.

Avoiding love is how love becomes a possibility.

If love hasn’t happened, we only need to wait

For the one thing love needs: out-of-focus hate.

Passion is a mixture in the right degree

Of sad discord and happy harmony.

She studies the book and learns

Of what does not love. In love, she burns.

When she, on fire, sought relief,

I stole her fire. Love is the thief

That deals in fire and never cools

Itself and burns itself and burns the schools.

You never understood her love and why her love was rash

Until you found the world and all its wisdom is ash.

 

WE NEVER SAID THAT

We never said you could be
Something else. If you agree
To be different we will pretend
It somehow makes a difference in the end.

We never said it would be
Other than official. So let’s agree
To pretend the official signifies
Something more than perfumed lies.

We never said it would be
Just. Only justice as you think it should be.
There will be symbolism and you can think
You are right. With your friends. With the ink.

We never said it would finally be
Anything more than beauty.
In the end, to find beauty we need money.
Did you hear me? We need money.

 

JUST SOME CLOUDS

Some people think they can see what they read.
You cannot see what you read. There is only sound.
Your memory contains images which a fiction writer found.
Fiction is what you want, but poetry is what you need.

Fiction grows, and it grows like a weed.
We do not need more fiction. There is only sound.
Your memory contains stories which a fiction writer found.
Fiction is what you want, but poetry is what you need.

Fiction is a confession the curious feel they have to read.
But really, is it necessary? There is only sound.
Your memory has embarrassments a fiction writer found.
Fiction is what you want, but poetry is what you need.

Invention is all; not family, not morality, not creed.
Invent. Don’t imitate life! There is only sound.
Your memory is nothing the fiction writer found.
Fiction is what you want, but poetry is what you need.

THIS IS HOW I FELL FOR HER

It began at the top of my head,
Where the dignified thoughts are.

Pity them! They fell far.

Philosophy turned into crying;
Infant fears my new philosophy,
Getting what it wants by lying.

After this occurred, what is left to say?
Reason descended and passion rose.

I read that eyes were paths to love:
When she was near, I looked in those.

Deprived of breath, I became drunk,
For what is the point of intoxication?
To die while you are living,
For love makes everything want to die.

The trick was: it seemed to be her.
But it all happened in my eye,
It all happened in my breath,

It was me inside me falling

And mine was a beautiful death.

The falling was happening in myself;
A frightening fall inside my head,
And after breath, blood succumbed;

My happy death knew at last it was dead.
My death found joy in a living
No longer known as life.
My life I tossed to her. Finally my feet fell;

I fell beside her.
I have not been myself since she became my wife.

WHY AM I UNTRUE?

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When I think constantly of you

How is it possible I am untrue?

This is how love shames me in the end:

Love belongs to the stranger, not the friend.

If I always think of you,

You are a friend, but a stranger, too,

And soon, strange, strange is what you are,

Not the sun I always see, but a mysterious star

That watches me, high, high above

Even when in the dull day I move.

But that star! That distant, looking you

Always looking to see if I’m untrue.

And I am! That’s what humans are!

So I say no to love! I say no to you, the sun, the star

Too beautiful, too strange, too far.

THE ONE I LOVED

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for Claire Montrose

The one I loved? The last time we kissed, he stroked my chin

And fed on my mouth like a starving man. I remember the night and his lips.

Some believe in bad luck; they feel they can never win.

I think we both felt that way: belief in bad luck, a gene, we both inherited.

Our love was too good to be true, we felt, so in our minds our love had to end.

And it did end, with great pain, and our genes proved they were right.

True, it was not meant to last, since it was forbidden and dangerous.

I worry too much; I once saw a parent unconcerned as her young son walked on a wall

Above the sea; if I were as blithe as that, I would have clear skin and fifty boyfriends.

Now I have bad skin and no boyfriends, though I am especially beautiful, some say.

The one I loved wanted sex more than I did; this gets tiring after a while;

I have a bag of chips theory: the man wants sex often, so the bag is gone in a week;

For me, the bag will last two months; he eats chips out of love for me,

Perhaps, but I resent having to buy a new bag all the time;

The difference in appetite begins to wear you down;

I finally got annoyed, and thought, if you want sex so much, go have it with somebody else;

I want to be loved for who I am, not for beauty and sex all the time.

Love for women is social; we want to be loved for more than sex.

It’s like this: when a tight sock leaves a mark on my leg, a hot stream of water

In the tub aimed at my leg gives me the most exquisite pleasure,

But I don’t spend my days thinking about this pleasure;

The sensation is very, very nice, but trivial; when I start to feel

The most important thing to him is getting in the tub for that hot stream of water,

I don’t care how loving and charming he is, or that he wants me

There in the tub with him—I get sick of his addiction to pleasure; I pretty much told him,

Oh for Christ’s sake! I’m sick of this routine! Get in the tub with someone else!

He was horrified, of course; heartbroken, couldn’t understand, wondered

What he had done wrong, he thought I loved someone else, and this

Just got me even more annoyed, and I should have tried to explain,

But you can’t—I only came up with the bag of chips theory later.

But I was so annoyed and so sick of it all; without a word I dumped him.

At the time I was furious, and it felt good; he was helpless, I was helpless,

But still I felt like I was doing something that had to be done.

I told myself: I’ll have new chips every six months, maybe when I’m drunk,

But you can’t plan spontaneity. And I don’t want to take the time to find out

How many chips someone is going to want to eat: it would become the same thing.

He doesn’t know how I’m doing, because we never speak.

Now, the danger gone, the celibate years have gone by, and he hasn’t a clue, I’m sure,

Why our beautiful love died; we really loved each other—but he was crazy for me, I think;

He wrote me poem after poem, and when he kissed me in the moonlight

I knew I was making him very happy; I said he was the only thing that mattered,

And I guess, in a way, that was true; love is just a silly pleasure for me, though;

The fact that I was not as intense as he was just urged him on, and made him jealous

And passionate; I would be lying if his passion did not fire me up sometimes

And there were moments when I wanted him deeply, but I couldn’t shake the idea

That love was just a crazy thing, and, finally, kind of silly.

I loved him as best as I could; he wrote me thousands of poems

And isn’t that just as silly, really? They are just words, after all;

And his poetry was a way of escaping me, too; he didn’t have to say it:

I knew he wanted fame and admiration from other places; sure, he did.

So I don’t want to pretend that his love was all that pure; my lips

Were there for him to kiss; I’m sure he thought of other lips;

What was all that imagination for, anyway? And are these poems mine?

When I die and they put the few possessions I own in a box, poems in that box

Will not be mine; they will be his.  I did the right thing. I’m glad the one I loved

Is not here to see me age, my mouth fading above my chin.

My face is one thing he especially loved. He was always writing about “beauty.” Crazy.

I was right. Our love took us to heights neither of us were meant to win.

When I do die, and they put my things in a box, I know the world will quickly forget me.

If he still thinks of me—we live close to each other, by the sea—

The idea of me simply disappearing is probably what makes him saddest of all.

I can see him, alone, on this sunny day, maybe walking a long peninsula,

Hiding his tears from the t-shirted tourists,

While here I am—now plain and gray—just across the inlet, in the yard, pulling weeds.

Sure, we have many memories, but what else can I say?

It’s too emotional, and I want my peace, and I’m sure

He’ll write a poem or two about it, so in the end, we’ll be okay.

LECTURE INSIDE OF SORROW

Lecture inside of sorrow,
Invention inside of pain,
Love inside of love
Has thwarted love again.

A message inside a message
That says all is well
Describes messes
Of which we dare not tell.

Improvement and progress
Are hollered down the lane.
The sun will shine again
As the sun will explain.

From here to there
Is how our love progressed.
But that went nowhere,
As you may have guessed.

She wanted mystery,
He wanted love out loud.
He desired nudity.
She preferred a shroud.

The revolution of sighs
Began in the city
And spread to the suburbs,

Infecting the pretty.

The pretty went to sell
Pretty in the square
But found the town in flames
And an ugly mob there.

The librarian wept
Upon her soft, soft seat
While the cylinders unfolded
And the sky rained meat.

Lecture inside of sorrow,
Invention inside of pain,
Love inside of love

Has thwarted love again.

 

SHE CURES ME OF YOU

She cures me of you
Because she is beautiful, too.

One look at her face
And I forget our disgrace.

A glance from her eyes
And your beautiful image dies.

But all I see and think—
No matter how wise and beautiful the drink

That drowns all that went before—
You and your beauty rise up and conquer me once more.

As long as I was faithless, and thought
That numerous loves spied
Could equal you, or that in their life my love for you could have died,

Ten times more grew my love for you,
More than beautiful, more than life, so beautiful you grew

That you even now carry her, the beautiful, around,
Added to you, triumphant, who adds, like a poem, sound to beautiful sound.

 

 

 

THERE IS ONE BEAUTY

There is one beauty on this earth
In which all the others, partial, find their worth.
So please pardon me who was able to find
All beauty in you. I was blind.

Beauty blinds us all until we find,
With our partial selves, the one beauty in our minds,
The one beauty one in poetry finds,
The one beauty that makes one faithful, happy, and true,
Not as I was, who wrote all that bad poetry to you.

 

 

 

 

 

WORKING, NOT WORKING

At work, I may not be working,
Joking with my co-workers when there’s not much to do.

At work, I may be working hard,
But it’s not like I’m cleaning my yard;

I’m on coffee and glancing at names and numbers
With pleasant dreams of leisure in my head.

This may sound crazy, but work is not really work,
Just as the economy, the measure of how humanity does
Is best when activity wastes a lot, so a lot of useless work is done.

Things that break keep the economy humming;
Awful art filling up classrooms, hospitals full, beads and bangles made.

Birth because of death; death, our boss, flies in from the shade,
Oversees us and makes us scurry back to work
As we get back to doing what other departments do not know we do.

All errors we fix are good errors, providing us jobs,
A good life, planted with loving care by death—who is always busy.

So work is not work; there, I hope that’s clear;
Now on my day off, work is everywhere:

In the morning, I switch on my devices
And feel the zero-one-zero world in operation.

I have my coffee at the inspection garage.
The sweat and oil drip amid the noise;

Then, more coffee at the quiet, spacious dealership,
Suits and ties flying.

Stuck behind the garbage truck, I observe
Arms hurling garbage, impatient rush-hour cars grumbling.

To find some peace I duck into a cafe,
But the waiters, looming over table and counter, work, too.

Exhausted from watching the tired,
I go home, find the cat sleeping, and realize what I must do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BATHROOM SELFIE

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OK, if you think this is a load of crap,
Wait until you see what I do next.
If you don’t like the poems and the weather,
You can always walk from room to room
Using your legs. Dinosaurs owned legs—
The most primitive device of life on land!
What you thought was a poem, won’t be a poem.
I took a picture, with my phone, once,
Of a likeness of you I drew in the sand.

I WILL SIGH FROM THE SAME SORROW TOMORROW

I will sigh from the same sorrow tomorrow.
And who can I blame?
The conductor in my train’s narrow corridor
Who calls my city’s name?

Scenery of swamp and river,
Blur of buildings outside a window,
Static suburban history
Of parking lots and industry
That always looks the same?

Are there passengers I can blame?
Those who sit in their seats half asleep,
Who will never know my name?
Who will push in selfishly for seats tomorrow?

Or should I look elsewhere for my sorrow,
A sorrow that truly makes me sigh?
Perhaps it is the beautiful sky
In various hues. Nature is always true
And Nature always reminds me of you.
Perhaps Nature is to blame. She is always the same.

Love? Which, because of its sorrow, makes me feel love is true,
Is this not happy? I do not have you, and yet to me, our love is true
Because of sorrow yesterday, today and tomorrow,
A sorrow always the same—
Since you don’t hold my hand and lean over to me and whisper my name.

Pitiful joy! Pitiful truth! Pitiful sorrow! Pitiful life! All the same.
The same sorrow sighing tomorrow.
Sorrow of millions.
And who can I blame?

 

 

WHEN EVENING IS TRULY FAIR

When evening is truly fair

And no words can possibly describe

This evening sweetly and softly rare,

Dusky tops of silky trees swaying

In breezes dearer than music playing,

There is truly something only we two share.

I, the poet, have nothing resembling poetry

To say why sky and dying sun and air

Are beauty breathing as if beauty itself were breath,

And your beauty, your loved beauty,

Like my poetry, is ravished by this

Life lying down beside a breeze-kissed death.

A poet reduced to words like “breeze” and “kissed!”

A beauty merely human inside a mystical mist.

Humbled by comparison to fairest weather,

My poetry and your beauty lie down together,

And here beside a fragrant, moon-lit vine,

We kiss. And on our humbled kisses dine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I WANNA TELL TINA, TOO

Christine walked by with a pear and apple,
Saying, “I need one more, so I can juggle.”

“You can juggle two,” I told her, “with one hand.”
And I thought of fruit falling, and then a name for a band,
In my game of ‘randomly name a band:’ Bruised Fruit.

With the name, Bruised Fruit, I go to Annemarie:
“Hey, Annemarie, I have a great name for a band.”
And I notice Tina missing. “I wanna tell Tina, too.”

Hey, even better: I Wanna Tell Tina, Too.
Is this crazy?  Is this what poets do?
And what would you think of this by the time it gets to you?

HOW SWEET THESE TEARS

How sweet these tears from missing you,
How sweet these tears that fall!
When I lost you, darling,
I lost it all.

How easy for my tears to fall, sweet tears,
And a pleasant feeling when they fall!
When I lost you, darling,
I lost it all.

My tears have no trouble falling when I miss you,
I’m glad when they trickle and fall!
When I lost you, darling,
I lost it all.

I love when tears fall sweetly and I pant
With pleasure, with sweetest pleasure as they fall.
When I lost you, darling,
I lost it all.

Tears fall; they fall because I am weak!
And weakness makes everything fall.
When I lost you, darling,
I lost it all.

COMPLAINING TO GOD

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Why did you provide us with music

And then give us one song?

And then we find each note

Of the one we are given is wrong?

Why did you give us vision

Inside our beautiful eyes

Which, when matched up with voices,

Melts in confusing lies?

Why did you give us a meadow

With sweet flowers perfumed?

And people. Ill-dressed people.

Eating noisily. And doomed.

Why did you offer the sun

Heralding a multitudinous day

Ending in nightfall

Where one shadow cannot stay?

I HAVE THE POEM IN MYSELF

I have the poem in myself
And you are the poem everyone wants to see.
You are the sun.
I am shadowy.

No one learns to read.
We only learn to see.
Nature has us reading
Her signs, to satisfy
What Nature has to be:
Breeding, breeding, breeding.

All you think you do—
No matter how mute and obscure—
Done for none, or one, or few—
Is done for one reason: to make more.

So the poem in myself
Is a love letter to you;
You are the better poem,
Because of how you look and what you do,

Even if it is walking,
Or washing clothes.
You don’t need anything.
Everyone knows.

Slaves to nature,
Slaves to her commands.
Read about the slaves
In foreign lands.

Read of history, and switch every soul,
Man for woman, black for white.
Would anything change? No?
No? Then what’s the point?

Read about the lovers,
The burning lovers, the sad wives,
The workers in the workshops
Making models of those who always lose their lives.

Read of the singer singing his song,
The crowds, listening, crowding to belong;
Read of the builder, building the house,
For baby and father and mother and mouse.

I have the poem in myself—
There! You may see!
You are the sun.
I am shadowy.

WHY DO YOU FIND IT STRANGE

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Why do you find it strange that you can hide your face from God?
A tiny cloud can block the sun—do you find that odd?

It’s easy to hide from God—him to whom you ran
Is now him you run from—you, the same sweet woman, he the same sweet man.

You find love, which costs nothing, and is your greatest joy, one day,
And before the night, with ecstasy come, you throw it all away.

Why do you find it strange that God can disappear
In one act of unkindness, and now nothing that is God seems here,
From birds flying above, to your own nose wet with a tear?

How can all this love go away in an instant? Isn’t that odd?
And then you view a poem, a mere poem. And feel the return of God.

 

 

 

 

 

A FEW KISSES

Is there a cure for this?
We exchanged the sweetest kiss.
It is difficult to describe my illness
Except to say it has weakened my defenses
Not exactly in my body, but somewhere deep within.
There is not one word for this illness in all of medicine.
It is more real than anything in psychology books
And from every official person I get the strangest looks.

And friends? To complain of this to friends is the worst.
I would tell a complete stranger first,
For my illness is strange; I am now, myself, a stranger,
And talk to myself at length, at all hours, about this danger
To my health. Nothing is the same
Since my blood was stamped with the being and the being’s name.

I have succumbed to joy! Illness? Illness of bliss!
It is the illness which surpasses all illnesses—
And I know in my heart there’s no cure for this.
If only officials had stopped us when we kissed,
Or a friend had been present, or a feminist.
The feminist could have shouted, “He’s stalking you!”
But we were alone. For a kiss. Or a few.

 

 

 

 

 

WE TURN OURSELVES INTO ART

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We turn ourselves into art,

Tragically, unlike what the animals do,

Who have no art, and live in nature,

As I once lived with you.

Remember, mother? In your water

I was small, and lived.

As soon as we are born, we belong to art.

All sorts of coverings begin,

And judgments and hidings

And the eye has to watch how it looks

Or it will seem, or be seen, as impolite.

The feast and the spectacle

Become a predicament,

Especially in longing and love.

Art snakes around the statue of judgement

Is a metaphor that confuses us in school

And the teacher who first tells us, “In art, there is no right answer,”

Is silly. Not really cool.

Because life, we know inside, is all about right or wrong.

You can sing, or you can’t; you love, or you hate that song

And your opinion is good—because it’s yours.

There is nothing else to say after “there is no right answer,”

Except to live the life of uptight clerks in stores.

You love me or you don’t. That’s the way it is.

You might learn a little about art. You pass—or fail—a stupid quiz.

We turn ourselves into art. That’s all we do.

And don’t you believe it, for they don’t believe it, smirking,

Delicate in their eyeliner in the airliner, when they say, I like you.

 

 

 

FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, I AM FREE AT LAST

What I once hated, I now love,

Since love conquered me

By other means than love, mysteriously,

As when the eye is forced to see

Itself in another’s eye

And succumbs to what belongs to that eye’s body.

Previously, I thought a face ugly,

And now, joyously: “why, why, why?”

I know too many things should not be thought beautiful,

Lest my judgement be destroyed—

But now I am over you, and I am overjoyed.

Yours was a superficial beauty, the kind everyone sees;

But now I love the many’s incongruities.

I love what was impossible to love before.

Love was once you. Now, it is more.

Love is focused on one person because one person is what we are,

But infinite beauty reached me from afar

Through an atmosphere that once held one star

And now holds many.

I am wealthy, for I once held one penny,

One—you—who I held as gold in my heart.

To love, I had to hate, having died by a single dart.

 

 

THE FEMININE HAS FEELINGS

The feminine has feelings
The masculine must treat more than well.
Do not let thinking
Doom you to a genderless hell.
The feminine has feelings—
The masculine should learn how deep,
Or the masculine will learn
That the masculine, too, can weep.

Since both genders are jealous,
Both genders are blind,
Believing every type of itself unkind.
“The world is unkind!” the lover cries,
Peering into the kindest eyes.

 

 

 

POETRY AND LIFE

Educated poetry and ignorant life
Can never touch:
Poetry is learned in the schools;
Life is an embarrassing love reserved for fools.

Husband and wife cannot love each other too much:
The child must come first:
Before life does its worst,
Put the child in school.

Brats all in a row;
Give their passionate minds a tool,
A computer: to fight the foe,
Ignorance—another name for wandering life.

I write poems in a school on a computer for my co-worker wife.

MY MISTAKES FIXED

When I loved, I erred severely,
When I loved, I made a terrible mistake,
But surely every sickness can be cured
If all it is, is an ache?

When I loved, I traveled to an unknown heart,
When I fell, I tumbled to a veiled mind.
When I loved, I fell in love with a land,
A valley no historian can find.

When I loved, I loved other mountains,
I loved other rivers—a past—a tribe:
And when they came into that valley,
They settled and would not climb.

When she loved, she loved me, unknown,
She loved me, a mysterious rhyme.
No one knew why, or how, we loved.
We settled and would not climb.

Water came into the valley,
Sweeping fantastically; a flood filled
Two hearts, floating on a sea;
We swam, and did not touch, to not get killed.

It felt like fate, not love,
It felt we were swept by a higher power;
I lie back, free from my mistakes!
Love feels more like God every hour.

SHARE AND LIKE

 

In a happy marriage, the sex can just happen,

But with lovers it has to be endlessly negotiated and arranged;

I’m over that. If you want to know the truth,

I slept with you because I wanted to find out if a poet was more than just a penis,

And I found out that a poet is just a penis; so, goodbye.

I don’t care now much poetry you write, you’re just a penis.

Go write your heart-broken poems so you can be a famous penis; I really don’t care.

Sometimes it’s annoying how simple the answers are.

A discord needs resolving, a cat needs to drink,

The weather is kind in a sunny, naive way,

And, wondering how much human speech my cat understands,

I think: how happy to live on that sub-linguistic level

Where all that matters is you are satiate after you drink.

I’m sick of all these thirsty woody allens.

And don’t get me started on cunts!

Go work on a construction site if you fancy that, or sprinkle rose water

On your cunt or something. But just leave me alone!

I’m going to try monogamy; monogamy, monogamy, so uncool,

But isn’t that what everybody secretly wants (and hardly ever gets)?

First, God, the law-giver, second, the husband (who you sleep with) and third, your friends.

What’s wrong with that?  Do you think I want to make laws?

Everything got turned upside down.  I thought I was God

Because I slept with my friends.

And that confused me a bit, you know, when I believed I was God.

I felt like God. You should have seen how they behaved when I walked by.

Take my hand, jealous, tortured, shit-faced, husband.

Tomorrow, maybe, it will just happen in the dark

And then I will get up and feed the cat, as usual.

Oh, won’t I be happy?

I won’t worship anybody but God,

Who makes the sunny, simple afternoons,

Who makes the darkness (good on God for that!)

And lets me satiate myself, naively.

What else?

 

 

 

 

 

THE TRAGICALLY BEAUTIFUL

The tragically beautiful—called by the fearful: femme fatale,
Lives in the eye of love’s storm, calm, away from the strife
She causes, possessing the inner peace of the cruelly beautiful,
Bred to be a mistress, not a friend or a wife.
She may say she is not, but everyone can tell
Beauty made in heaven from beauty made in hell.

The tragically beautiful—loved by the passionate, one and all,
Checks the passion that lives in her soul,
She, the beautiful, immune to the cruelly beautiful,
Is cold, while the fire of her lover’s desire rages out of control.
She may say she is not, but everyone can tell
Beauty made in heaven from beauty made in hell.

She’s tabula rasa; does not write, but is written,
Has no need for depiction, analysis, or signs,
She is their perfection: her thoughts bite; she is never bitten.
She belongs to the sensual: flowers, animals, oceans, wines;
When she moves among the sensual, she is diminished for a spell;
She becomes a landscape: moonlight undulating on the ocean’s swell.

She will pet the small animals; she will seem gentle.
She will emit animal charm exceedingly well;
But do not be fooled, for everyone can tell
Beauty made in heaven from beauty made in hell.

The poet strives for beauty more beautiful than her own,
And he may have lips that she loves to kiss,
But the poet—tragic poet!—cannot make her continually moan
For him. She does not want him all the time. And all he wants is this.

 

SINCE I FOUND LOVE

Since I found love
As a continuous dream continuing with thoughts of you,
I found the love we began grew
In new ways strangely and sweetly—
But not happily or completely.

I find that I love
The flowery paths we used to take,
When the sweet flowers by sweet winds would shake
Perfume of flowers into the air;
As I gradually lost the memory of your kissing,
As I breathed, on my own, the flowery air,
I found a deeper love, deeper than kissing,
A love for a beauty that doesn’t care
That I am walking there,
Or that I am pleasantly aware
Of those flowers we loved,
As this evening I breathe the flowery air.

When you were here,
There was too much care,
And when you were sweetly near,
I was always afraid—
Even when you kissed me in the scented shade—
That one day you would not be there:
A fear, proudly, but fearfully, I would not share.
Because we walked, like a dream, these paths together
It is almost too good to be true
To find a love I love that does not require you
To be here. Do you feel this, too?
Perhaps it is different for you.
I don’t know. Did I ever know you?
Could you walk these paths without feeling sad?
I was sure this would happen to me,
But without you, I feel—strangely, excitedly—glad,
As if I were loving all that time, and you
Were only the excuse to love this quiet beauty,
This loveliness of the world, and this pleasant view
Now makes me think of you,
But not with sorrow;
My love for you does not need you.
I am glad we loved, but now I look ahead to more lasting loves tomorrow.

GOD NEVER MENTIONED HER UNTIL SHE WAS ILL

God never mentioned her until she was ill.

No one discussed her until she died.

I was not allowed to be happy; I learned of her precisely as I cried.

My eyes were streaming as I found out

She had been; too late to know—all that I knew was in doubt—

Doubted the mountain had gold, doubted the river beyond was wide.


God made poetry from her life as her bones were lying there,

As storms raged, and every beast hid in its lair.

People huddled from the cold, complaining of the legendary weather,

And the world, I feared, would forget her altogether.

His poetry, I hoped, would keep her alive, but I wondered

Why His poetry was obscure—had the fates blundered?

Why did her cloudy illness and tears

Move God, the poet: what of her happier years?

Happiness? Everything is revealed in time:

Desire had been her illness. And oh my God she had been mine.

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