Not That One
Find me another word
that is not so ready. I want
a word that waits and weeps
and hesitates, that knows
of other words I kill, and
grows afraid to take its place.
Find me a word that has heard
of a woman afraid of losing a man
she does not have, find me a word
that flinches at the thought of being
trapped, a word that shows me
stealing time, not men.
Find me a word that is not so safe.
A word for a woman in a forest
to wake up with, a woman who
knows heat and long silences
and sleepless nights, a woman
who works with only words.
Not love, dear poet.
Find me another word.
This love for the everyday things,
part natural from the wide eye of infancy,
part a literary calculation,
this attention to the morning flower
and later to a fly strolling
along the rim of a wineglass —
are we just avoiding our one true destiny
when we do that, averting our glance
from Philip Larkin who waits for us in an undertaker’s coat?
The leafless branches against the sky
will not save anyone from the void ahead,
nor will the sugar bowl or the sugar spoon on the table.
So why bother with the checkerboard lighthouse?
Why waste time on the sparrow,
or the wildflowers along the roadside
when we should all be alone in our rooms
throwing ourselves against the wall of life
and the opposite wall of death,
the door locked behind us
as we hurl ourselves at the question of meaning,
and the enigma of our origins?
What good is the firefly,
the droplet running along the green leaf,
or even the bar of soap sliding around the bathtub
when we are really meant to be
banging away on the mystery
as hard as we can and to hell with the neighbors?
banging away on nothingness itself,
some with their foreheads,
others with the maul of sense, the raised jawbone of poetry.
Kiss the Eyes of Peace
Kiss the eyes of Peace, may it stream down
upon the trees. The sun shines and no longer roars
so intolerably. The soul again hopes to sense its
ribs, the sap. The cold has done me good. If the wind
blows, and I walk and watch the cars, life
brings me back to itself. It would be terrible
not to recognize anyone at the departure.
They’d be too far to touch or
be felt. In the pitch darkness I would not hold the memory
of love. A crust of ice forms on molten lava.
In time I might again be able to slide off. Walk
those roads of dust. Shake the jacket off, if it’s
dusty. There has been too much honey and grace, that’s
all. Too many blessings break a man apart.
Poljubi oči Miru
Poljubi oči Miru, ki naj se razlije po
drevesih. Sonce zunaj sije in ne buči več
tako neznosno. Duša upa spet začutiti svoja
rebra, svoj sok. Mraz mi je dobro del. Če
piham in hodim in gledam avtomobile, me
življenje vrne sebi. Najbolj strašno bi
bilo, ker pri odhodu ne bi nikogar spoznal.
Predaleč bi bili, da bi se jih dotaknil ali
čutil. V črni temi ne bi ohranil spomina na
ljubezen. Skorja ledu se dela čez vrelo lavo.
Počasi se bom morda lahko spet zadrsal. Hodil
po prašnih cestah. Otersel suknjič, če bo
prašno. Preveč medu in miline je bilo, to je
vse. Od prevelikega razkošja se človek razleti.
My body arcing across your white place
we mingle color and substance
wanting to mantle your cold
I share my face with you
but love becomes a lie
as we suffer through split masks
seeking the other half-self.
We are hung up
what we wish to be given
No Second Troy
–William Butler Yeats
Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?