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 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.



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 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.



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.


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.



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.



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,
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
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 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.







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.













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.
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

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.










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 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.



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
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 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.







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,

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.





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 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.





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.


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.



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—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
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.

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.


They say the poem is a lie that tells the truth.
But life is a lie that tells the truth
For life is full of error, leading us to believe she doesn’t love us
When she does. Her actions were meant to deceive, for life deceives in love.

A poem is a truth that tells a lie. I write the truth: I love her.
But love is large, and she and I are small.
Hurrying to its conclusion, the poem makes sure we are not seen at all.


I want to listen to Lana Del Ray all day

And the Bee Gees most of the night;

Or is it the other way around?

I never get music right.

I know the coolest music that no one else knows,

But that’s useless; what’s the point of an unknown rose?

You can’t win when it comes to unknown roses—

Or other people’s eyes, or other people’s noses;

Something about good taste and something about a bad smell

Interferes with sight, so we don’t see very well.

To protect ourselves, we close our eyes on the back of the bus,

But when we get there, we open them—and everyone’s laughing at us.

I walk downstage to the music of the Bee Gees,

Vanquished by trivia!  The aromas of teas…



I have one mother, who bore me long ago,

From her I came, and from her I still go

Into all that is not mother—into all that she

Hopes I will create, as she created me.

Creation is a burden, and creation is a woe,

For much happens by the flesh that we do not know,

And I went from my mother, hoping that she

Could let me go, and yet not forget me.

That is our sorrow! That is our fear:

That what made us then will not love us here.

O, let my thoughts be consistent and clear.

Let sounds that rebound make sense in my ear.

What began my life, please see it through,

No dream! but love that lives forever in you.



Beauty is not for everyone.
First, how would ugly work get done?
Second, how would the ugly ever be loved?
Third, beauty must be found.
You will not see it just lying on the ground.
And who understands its cruelty?

Say beauty belongs to me
And beauty will always stay.
Lie to me, and kiss me
See? This is almost beauty.
Back there, when you felt something, what did you surmise?
Kiss me, again. But this time close your eyes.





The poetry that comes to me

Is the love that comes to you.

But first comes the love,

The sweet, sweet love.

The line invented by my mind

Is the praise that comes to you.

But first comes the love,

The sweet, sweet love.

The eye that finds my eye

Is the look that comes from you.

A love, they say, can die.

But love is all I do.

Always in love, and always free,

Because the poetry comes to me.


The fiction writer, to acheive the dark comedy of life,
Does best in simple, transparent language to draw that life,
Careful not to intrude on that life
With fancy language or opinions, letting the facts of that life
Do most of the work, like a painter of still life.
No artist, using life, can compete with life.

Life contains endless material for the artist
Who does not find it necessary to invent or feel or think.
A million reporters for one poet: everybody’s a poet, wink, wink.

The Instagram photograph is the new art.
Snap it. Ten thousand pixels: each the perfect singing part.

The picture is laughing, the picture is crying.
Literature—lovely literature! is dying.

The death of a beautiful woman is the most poetical topic, said Poe.
And the best topic for fiction?  I believe I know:
The unhappy beautiful woman.

We are disgusted when an ugly woman has sex.

When a beautiful woman has sex, we are torn,
Since we are happy if we are having sex with her,
But if she is having sex with someone else, we wish she were never born.

If the beautiful woman is not having sex, the harsh division vanishes;
We are no longer torn; we are content to read the fiction
Detailing the unlikely: a beautiful woman’s chaste sadness.

Love produces so much unhappiness
That unhappiness is how we see—the shadows of sorrow covering life,
So love, in unreal ways, might be tolerated, and in very small ways—even for a moment!—loved.
Sex penetrates our consciousness, disguised, and understood, by other means;

Inscrutable chastity!
I read what you wrote, to find out what beauty means.


The hill has water running down its sides
Beneath the pansies and forsythia
Where the hyacinth bends, and the slender cunning
Of the iris no longer hides.
Spring is here. There is no more snow.
In case you didn’t know.

My mind has love running in and out of it
Where desperate thoughts of flowers
Vainly strive with thoughts that kiss my thoughts of you
Where the butterflies flit.
You’re in my mind. You will never go.
In case you didn’t know.

There was nothing reasonable about last fall
When the trees heaved down their leaves
And the wind blew cold upon the dying hill,
Which was not ours at all.
But spring is here. There is no more snow.
In case you didn’t know.


Another’s happiness makes you jealous.
And so you understand
Why sorrow comforts you,
And sorrow comforts the jazz band
You love to listen to.

You sigh. You know why
Sorrow in every song is the best thing
And when you clap your hands, you sadly sing
And sing of sadness more, and to cry
Is your highest happiness.

Everyone who knows us,
Knows no one should be jealous.
Jealousy is worse than sorrow.
Happiness leads to jealousy, and more jealousy tomorrow.

I have seen every genius fall,
Sighing, into a wish there were no happiness at all,
As jealousy (born in hell!) makes a heaven of sorrow.


When my hate loves, it is like love, in fact:
Love is the feeling, and sex, the desired act.

It is not like adding love to cause the hate to sleep
So one can make a show of politeness to a creep.

It is hate actually loving, and hate loves like love;
Hate is what it is, but love is what it does.

Love can be aroused by an identifying pity
Which makes us ache in a sweet melancholy—
We don’t love their perfection, but their faults;
We rejoice that love does not run, but halts.
Love halts right beside us.
The bus breaks down and we get on the bus.
But what notes faults insults.

So merciful, identifying love breeds hate—
The lover learns the hateful truth too late:
The one who kissed us is suddenly irate.
Sweet love is changed to injurious hate.

But since love was the original intent,
Hate loves, despite hate, despite resentment;
Love hates, driving the confused lover mad.
But hate loves, so the heavens are glad.

There’s no escape from a hateful love like this;
Love hates as love, teaching hate how to kiss.

It doesn’t matter what we feel, or what we do.
Hate tells hate to hate us if we hate you.



The boy raised in a suburb, white,
Learns in school his heart is blacker than night,
Life is large animals eating small;
Not sin, but God’s City, the terrible loss, the terrible  fall,
He learns, he learns it all.
Vaginas have a great deal to say.
He listens to vaginas talk all day.
Vaginas are here. And they’re not going away.
Did you write a poem on a vagina today?
He learns he took something, and must give it back
To the world, his daddy, and his daddy’s daddy, the fault and the lack.
The old science and the old erection,
The old knowledge and the old protection,
Are dead, say the new Chairs, the new Head.
But nothing, when you look around, is changed at all:
Buildings and rockets and marriages and laws
Weigh heavy on the landscape, the economy,
Customs, play, manners, money, no pause
Of the world’s activities can be discerned. Everything is lovely.
And when the boy, now a man, receives his degree,
He assumes, with some debt, all the old knowledge,
And forgets what the vaginas had to say in college.






Image result for taj mahal

Who said love is like money? They were right.

When you have a lot of it, you keep it out of sight.

The only time you spend a lot is when you need to get

What someone else can give you—but not quite yet.

I’m still making payments on the lovely house

That is you. A house, lovely, but quiet as a mouse.

Our two houses stand, indebted to each other.

How rich we are, in being poor for each other.

You have paid as much for me, and you, too,

Owe millions, with kisses the bank misses past due.

Love makes us poor, swells our debt

For a dry floor, a bed that’s wet.

Love, to be love, must be spent,

A kiss coming by a poem sent.

My mortgage is by your mortgage always due.

You must pay me love that’s always owed to you.







I know how she is beautiful,

But she doesn’t know.

I made her beautiful when I loved her.  Love gave her a glow.

But where has her beauty gone?

Today I saw her, with yet another fashion on.

And now I think I know.

My love gave her a confident glow,

Which made me love her more, increasing that glow

Until she became truly beautiful, so neither one of us could know

How she was beautiful,

Since beauty always is its own reason for what it is,

Nothing more beautiful than beauty that simply is—

So she began to resent her beauty as the reason for a kiss,

Beauty the only reason for what beauty is.

You want me, she said, but beauty is not just for you,

And I believed her. The law of beauty. What her beauty said was true.

Even though we loved, I feared, in our love, what she was about to do.

One day, for no reason, she became angry. She said angry things to me.

Perfect beauty is a tyrant, and she was now acting tyrannically,

Not knowing what she was doing, and neither did I;

Her anger was baseless; I had nothing to say. Beauty caused love to die.

She was as beautiful as ice and now came the inevitable goodbye.

I was so in love with her beauty, I was timid and afraid.

I had no moral strength. Her hate grew: this dude just wants to get laid.

Love was undone by the beauty it had made.

Now she visits the beauty shop. She attends to parts. But beauty escapes her as a whole.

She is no longer beautiful. Today I glanced at her, and the whole truth flashed upon my soul.








At the beginning of my book
Is an argument which deserves a look.

Which do I love best?
I believe it is her lips—
They sometimes received my finger tips
Shyly, as I told her how much I loved them.

Her modesty was deep, and deep would I go
In loving her, to prove
The depth and sincerity of my love
And kissing her lips was one way to prove my love.

The first thing I loved was her arms
When we were friends. It produced no alarms.
A tiny rash caught from the farms. It produced no alarms.
It was a joke almost: “I first loved your arms.”

But then—I wanted to kiss her lips,
Especially on leisurely nature trips
When lovely things were all around;
The trees, which some have called beautiful,
Or the grass, the fresh air, the reasons for the trips
Were many, for nature is lovely in sight and sound—
But my focus was on her lips
And I would kiss her by bush and pond
When the hush of nature was all around.

She amazed me, and sometimes I would stretch out in unbelief upon the ground
Trying to understand when she said
She didn’t think her lips were beautiful; she would make some ordinary movement with her head
And look almost angry, as if my praise
Were insulting, as if her lips did not haunt (I lost sleep) my red nights and days.

Or was it her breasts
That drove me, to the greatest degree, absolutely mad?
The thought of her entertaining other guests
Made me jealous beyond imagining; nothing is worse than love forced to be sad
The more it ought to be happy—
What should be swelling, and proud, and sticking out
Turns morose and sappy.
The proud lover becomes a trampled-down lout.
I would pace at home and talk to myself when we didn’t go out.

But let that go. For now I know her eyes
And their shy, happy expression are the highest prize
Among all the things about her; if anything dies
Mournfully and beautifully in my memory
Most poignantly, it is those strangely wise and beautiful eyes—
Her eyes speak what cannot be spoken;
And when nature sleeps at last and nothing natural can be woken,
eyes! Oh their sweet look
Will occupy the final sentence of my book.

If interest in my book slips,
If all that talk of eyes and breasts and lips
Seems too much, let me touch her lightly on the arms.
Look at that little rash. Read of that. Or simply touch the book. That will cause no alarms.


Once love reaches a certain fever pitch,
It’s an embarrassment to everybody.
Imagination explodes in dirty jokes
And life becomes pornography with clothes on.
Banal phrases like “doing it” take over the mind
Until the only solution is icy austerity,
And the frowning and the hate
Which makes it tumble down.

Kill love! Kill sex!
Kill poetry! And please kill my sexy ex!
Give me a sex-icon who lives on the moon.
Make sex impossible. Not something that might happen soon.
Please tell romance and song to shut up.
All I need is a wooden cup.
Send me on my way.
If you love me, look for me.
I’ll return as a small, high cloud one day.






A sensitive Plant in a garden grew —Shelley

The tenderest heart
Loves the tenderest plant!

Her heart feels grief
If harm should come to the smallest leaf.
She is sensitive—beyond belief.

Isn’t this what you want she should want?
To feel and want
What has no want?

The tender plant survives in the dirt.
She stays in bed—to not get hurt.

No matter how the poet implores,
She brings the tender plant indoors.

She waters the plant every day.
With your third eye, you might want to cry this way.




Beauty is wrong
For being rare.
How can we share
If beauties are few?

Beauty isn’t fair.

I felt terrible loving you:
You were rare, and you knew.

Beauty changes from what is
To what we do
In order to please more than a few
And then everything becomes a blur:
A piece of abstract art—
Beautiful! Wait. Is that you? Or her?

But beauty is only beauty because it is rare;

No, because I saw a million beauties there,
A million beauties drowning me in beauty,
Beauty the whole reason for my mind,
Beauty the sole reason for desire,
Beauty, the sun, with its engulfing fire,
Dwarfing our earth and its little air,
Beauty in little places found everywhere,
In the sea, with billions of beauties swimming there,
Yellow and orange fish, fins waving like mermaid hair,
In sea-light creeping down from slippery upper air,
Mixing with the blue light and the green light,
So I thought, “is it really true that beauty isn’t fair?”
Were you the thing I wanted? Were you there?








We all do what is right
In the middle of the night,
Or in the day; we do what is right,

As we think and as we calculate;
It is right to us—even if we hate
As we feel, and with feeling, calculate.

Some perceive what we do as sin,
Some, outside, looking in…
And they could be right:
Everyone loves themselves in the middle of the night.

When we discover one we loved
Has, in secret, sinned, we feel betrayed;
Forgive them; in their hearts they were right;
And fear them not; fear the one who sins in the light,
Right in front of you—and is not afraid.



“He [Cupucci] designs as though for an abstract woman, the woman we never meet.” –Alison Adburgham

Born in Rome, Roberto Cupucci,
More splendid than Cartier, Cardin, or Gucci.
Roberto took the dress world by storm
With warm colors and warmer form.
Roberto Cupucci, give me a kiss.
I never knew fashion could be like this.
Hold me in your arms, you designing man.
I will give you my pleats. I will give you my tan.
I will give you my secrets and the softness of my skin.
Your radiance is something I am comfortable in.

I never thought I could wear a dress like this.
But the abstract is never amiss.
Hell, there is nothing like a great perfume
When you enter a room.
I do mean great, because there is a smell
Which haunts more than memory itself can in an old mossy well.
Roberto? No. Do not let them see me, Roberto.

And later, in the garden—ah, smell that garden—what shall we do?
Roberto Capucci, come closer! I want to talk to you.
I’m thinking of sitting on this couch
, at last.
Norma Kamali was the secret to my past.
Taffeta prince, I think I can be
Loved, if I march in Rome’s army,
Loved, I know, by at least one,
Who will glimpse me under the orange sun.


When I was your slave, and everything was seen through you,
My needs, and my mind, I hardly knew.
I studied you, to please you, and I became you, pleasing you,
Which pleased me—
For some reason—tremendously.
I did not choose to please you,
Or choose to take pleasure in you,
And certainly it was not you
Who forced me to please you;
What was it then, which made me a slave to you?

We know others by what they do,
But ourselves, by what we crave.
I couldn’t stop craving you.
And now that we are through,
I think on those needs of mine, and that mind of mine which I hardly knew,
When I was your slave, and everything was a mist or measure of you,
And I still don’t know anything. I don’t know what to do about you.
There is still the world. Ah, there it is. A view.


Do I dare to give an “F”
To my student, Amber Luck,
Who does not give a fuck?
I’m always out of breath
When I lecture them on death,
And my eyes trail the floor
Discussing poems of amor.
Do I suggest an “Incomplete?”
Shall we privately meet
To correct the wrongs
She imposed on Song of Songs?
Do I consult the dean?
All four of them, and all green?
Who gives a fuck
About Amber Luck
Who cannot write?
And yet—when I lie in bed at night,
Letting poems run through my head
Amber is the name, instead.

Tomorrow I teach World War One,
And all the slaughtering that was done,
And how it afflicted the minds
Of brilliant poets like me,
Who pull down the blinds
And weep alone in the nursery.
The war inspired poets to write “fuck,”
And I will make it clear to Amber Luck
That her attitude belongs to history.
I don’t see her as a mystery.
I only see her as a student in my class,
Another chair and another ass,
As the dean of recruitment and enrollment says.

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