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.
My backpack is weighted with lilies and candles. I cross argent mountains and oceans to reach you. I throw a tasseled rug before you And stare into wide eyes no longer dull, Passing the carafe until dawn fills us With rock-candy colors, and our smiles are tired From talking too animatedly wired While night cloaks his blue frills around us. How long have I walked to find your country? How long had I slept till I dreamed of you? How long has my desire kept me swimming? Toward you, toward you, my dear, I am swimming! My breath breaks the surface seeking shores of you! Coming home to your eyes, I sing "'Tis of thee!"
I know you minimally only, The way a head knows hair: an invisible halo,-- The way a sleepwalker knows life: fully lonely As a blind hand walking across a mirror. I know you only as a keel knows water: I divide and unite your surfaces endlessly and seamlessly, Never knowing the wet of your green interiors. But I know you will know me completely. You will know me without any deceit, For deceit's too weak to withstand your winds-- The hurricanes that live in your laughter Announcing: "It is she!" And I'll stand Open to you totally, a book without a binding, And our eyes will share tears simple as water.
Let us play a game then, you and I. Let the table be raised beneath the sky, Let the drums be drummed, and on it lie. Smoky women bear their burning tapers nigh, Dwarves with gongs come clanging, by-and-by. Everyone take your seats, let the last one in, The ceremony of sex is about to begin. My hand finds you, your hand unknots my tie, Lips as lithe as fishes sip, and we let slip Our final disguise. Now at last in naked night We plunge the utter dark with light caresses. Touching the matter to the heart, they bless us. For you and I are nothing, when this is, When we are one thing, one mass of blessings.
Magnolia petals on a tank... fall lightly... As they fall... on everything, being The pink delirious things they are. Philosophers in their overcoats construe More meaning than meaning thinks its due, Being the grey barristers of the real They be. But you, sweating in your spring attire, Visit devastation on the sweet magnolia tree, Declawing its blossoms... and trimming the wings Of birds as they return to their warm abode. For you the poet unfolds his ode. For you the tank stutters in its tracks. For you the petals in my stark heart Fall in flattering loveliness... for a start.
It's enough. To play with scarves in summer air Is enough. The weaving and the waving Of their colors in the fresh summer air Is enough. There is no more to be waved Or to be woven than what has already occurred. No past is prologue when the moment's all. Look how brightly the colors wave and curve! The summer air is here, and that is all. The summer air is heavy in the mind, The mind is old and full of dusty thoughts: How this becomes that, how the child crawls into the man; Colors wave and curve, and I calculate their sine. --Ai! You cover me with a hundred scarves uncaught, And the summer air is bright with omen.
What is time, and how is it our own? I will not recognize the clock hours maybe, So bee-like diligent to my task I am, Or, grown slowly thoughtful looking out to sea, Time slips by lightly that would govern me. My time feels most my own when you and I Together spend the gold moments given: Pointing at Venus in her drape of sky, Or doubling-up downright--with laughter shaken. Or when moony looks imbue you, dear, (If I'm not mistaken) the way a clear Pond becomes clouded with the thought of rain Or a mother disappears into her child's pain. We keep time most when we give all our own.
The fierce being you would have spring from you Will yet spring. The life your life trembles to beget Is waiting in your snowy body curled. She shall from your eyes drink the honied fire, And her breath your breath will yet sustain, Inspiring in her unborn eyes a thousand worlds. The new-made woman who will step like brightness Too bright to look at--dances in your likeness When before the mirror you test your tresses. This phantom of your future self shall come yet: And every diamond be her birthright, And every river flutter like her caress. Oh little mother frowning brownly so, Let one small smile be born upon you now.