Snowstorm in the Midwest
I keep thinking of you – which is ridiculous.
These years between us like a sea.
and dignity that came with growing older
would stop my pencil on the paper.
The player was open; you asked for the Stones;
got that, got steaming coffee, conversation.
The heavy curtains kept a wild night out.
I keep thinking of your eyes, your hands.
There is no reason for it, none at all.
You would say I can’t be what I’m not,
yet I can’t not be what I am.
Where does that leave us? What can we do?
The silence after Jagger was like a cloak
I’d have thrown over you – only the wind
was left, and the clock ticked as you sipped,
clutching the green mug in both hands.
Don’t look up suddenly like that!
How hard is not to watch you.
We had got to the stage of not talking
and not worrying, and that
was almost happy. Then, late,
When you lay on one elbow on the carpet
I could feel nothing but that hot knife
of pain telling me what it was
and I can’t tell you about it, not one word.
A snow show from a Czech soul.
It began to snow at midnight. And certainly
the kitchen is the best place to sit,
even the kitchen of the sleepless.
It’s warm there, you cook yourself something, drink wine
and look out of the window at your friend eternity.
Why care whether birth and death are merely points
when life is not a straight line.
Why torment yourself eyeing the calendar
and wondering what is at stake.
Why confess you don’t have the money
to buy Saskia shoes?
And why brag
that you suffer more than others.
If there were no silence here
the snow would have dreamed it up.
You are alone.
Spare the gestures. Nothing for show.
Poem of Night
I move my hand over
slopes, falls, lumps of sight,
Lashes barely able to be touched,
Lips that give way so easily
it’s a shock to feel underneath them
The bones smile.
Muffled a little, barely cloaked,
Zygoma, maxillary, turbinate.
I put my hand
On the side of your face,
You lean your head a little
Into my hand–and so,
I know you’re a dormouse
Taken up in winter sleep,
A lonely, stunned weight.
A curved piece of brow,
A pale eyelid
Float in the dark,
And now I make out
An eye, dark,
Wormed with far-off, unaccountable lights.
Hardly touching, I hold
What I can only think of
As some deepest of memories in my arms,
Not mine, but as if the life in me
Were slowly remembering what it is.
You lie here now in your physicalness,
This beautiful degree of reality.
And now the day, raft that breaks up, comes on.
I think of a few bones
Floating on a river at night,
The starlight blowing in a place on the water,
The river leaning like a wave towards the emptiness.