As talking apes, we handle the matter of urgent mating in a way quite different from our hairier cousins. For us musing humans, loving someone seems to be equal parts artifice and fascination.
We love someone, first, not for who they are, but for whom we make them out to be through the mists of dim recognition–across the roomful of phony fog and the pulsing rainbows of the disco ball. This fascination, combined with the artifice of who they present themselves to be, is just the initial sauce of the gourmand’s smorgasbord of attraction and affection we term “love.”
And where the imagination latches its mollusk, it secretes its magic–transforming the rottenest rowboat into Cleopatra’s bejeweled barge.
The courtship between two adult humans contains, on average, one million words–roughly 100,000 more words than Shakespeare’s complete plays. This is the titanic effort that the imagination brings to bed with us. And from this art, we weave the dreams of our sexual lives, our tenderest expressions of affection. And, indeed, we weave our own families.
How we imagine love is important. To be raw, to be vulnerable, to weave our dreams of love in utter nakedness, is important. It’s what we talking apes do. We do it incessantly and, in all the animal kingdom, we do it with an artifice and fascination compounded mainly of words.
This human intrusion of the heart and cock into one’s interpersonal affairs can be awkward, embarrassing, and nearly impossible to winningly negotiate.
This assemblage of sonnets is neither a trumpet of blind praise, nor a morose ogling of the pains of passion. It is more on the order of an exploration of the situation of love. Of being subjectively in love, and, more objectively, of loving someone besides oneself. So, there are eager rehearsals of coming joys and somber reappraisals of old impious passions both in this collection.
The biographical circumstances are simply that I had an intuition that I was on the cusp of some new union with love; there was a dating service, fresh faces and swaying ladies; a kiss occurred, other details.
Spring has arrived with its brash boings and raindrop doings!
GGB March 15-April 15, 2012
Ah, the small
That takes my all….
Could keep me down–
When I smell
Your downy mound….
I fell, I fall!
It’s just a little while
We’ve been two, we two.
Too long myself a solitary,
Self-possessed as a dromedary–
And landscape as bleak.
Too, too long my lonely hills
Slanted– all drift, sift and seethe.
No wet roll or rill, no river
Rushed oceanward open-armed,
Dissolving all the river’s crazy
Hermit-cackle to one tongue’s
More marmoreal, vast
I am desperate to love you, to know you,
Like a bride who burns off her wedding dress,
Like lips waiting, misshapen, to kiss.
Kisses fell out of us like water falls,
Bursting to earth and deafening the onlookers!
When we kissed, we could hear the sea crashing around us.
But where are they now, those slippery kisses?
What’s left of their vast wetness?
No child has grown between us.
Even a puddle leaves its residue of mud,
Some softening of the way
Despite whatever volume of traffic.
Stirring the syrup of your sweet sweet life,
Letting the licks insist their way into me, inside me,
Surely my lips remain sticky?
How many feet have been here before us? Every foot.
Every pace of the path is hard with old passages, old passions.
Every route is known; no star blinks undiscovered–
Except by us, two blips on the periphery,
Elliptical with longing, our lips chapped by the long wintering over,
Too stiff and dry to even whistle!
Our veined and florid maps are still tucked in our backpacks.
Our tents are not yet ready to unroll with sleep.
My eyes keep blinking, keep looking, no matter how dark the way.
There’s still so much to see, I think,
When your hand brushes mine under the pine trees,
And the sound of our walking fades into the background,
And I close my eyes to breathe.
If love is, then love is what happens
When you forget where you’re going.
Assist me, some extempore god of rhyme;
for I am sure I shall turn sonneteer. ~~ Shakespeare
All my life my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.
~~ Andre Breton
Desire too cosmic and too close to name
A vibrant nothing and a tortured shame.
My all, my fall–which in one syllable I’ll tell
If you beside me, dear, will ride
the black thunders to Hell.
My eyes are weary of looking for lovers
In every face, every cinch of the hips,
All the coffee, the talk, that passes my lips;
Tired of my solitude under cold covers.
A day is a long time, an hour, even a minute
Without you, stranger who will melt my heart,
Who will hear the doves beating in my chest
And fold herself into my arms like a shirt.
Arctic winds cross my forehead,
My hands chill and splayed as a penguin’s orange feet
As I wait on this ice floe for the one I must meet,
One who will ignite my nights with lavender heat.
Who are you, hands held before you toward my hands’ use….
A sleepwalker? A zombie? A mistress, a muse?
This is the first morning of the first day.
Even the grass looks like its being born,
Its green is so tender, matching your eyes,
As we learn to walk together down the unworn path.
Birds hesitate, amazed by the songs in their throats,
The wild corollas of sound at their command–
Even the mocking bird, even the warbler, hesitate,
Testing bright notes in the new sky and new land.
The trees look as young as fresh pea-tendrils.
Today, water is closest to happy tears.
Smiles cover our faces like big chrome grills–
The first hour of the first day of the first year!
I look over at you in your coat and your broach,
Ask your name, and, slowly, approach.