–Michelle Teaspilling water from my back,you call and i come.that exhausted walk to reach youbreathless and no i didn’t runto see you, i’ve been smokingtoo much, same thing.another awkward hug in the caras my face smashes your cheekthat i can feel it leaving nowis the saddest, a beautiful eruptionyou could have picked it off the treeand chowedbut you weren’t hungry.feeling it dying away all daymuch worse than the strainingagainst the leash, another gorgeousthing that should not have happened,gone again.
In Cities, Be Alert
–Annie FinchYou may hear that your heartbeat is unevenand let new tension climb around your shoulders,thinking you’ve found the trick for going mad.But try to keep a grip on where you are.Remember: all around you is pure city;try to stay alert. On the wide streets,so empty late at night, streaking in glass,the color of an alley, or the fallof a sideways flicker from a neon signmay utterly and briefly disconcert you—but as you go, you’ll find that noise is worse.Prepare for noise. But never scream. Even tensingears too far in advance can sharpen sirens,and as for horns. … When you’re back toyour normal rhythm after such encounters,just try to stay alert. You’ll never knowexactly who is coming up behind you,but the sudden movement of pedestrianswill finally, of course, be what disarms you.
The Darker Sooner
–Catherine WingThen came the darker sooner,came the later lower.We were no longer a sweeter-herehappily-ever-after. We were after ever.We were farther and further.More was the word we used for harder.Lost was our standard-bearer.Our gods were fallen faster,and fallen larger.The day was duller, dullerwas disaster. Our charge was error.Instead of leader we had louder,instead of lover, never. And over this riverbroke the winter’s black weather.
–Billy CollinsJust as in the horror movieswhen someone discovers that the phone callsare coming from inside the houseso too, I realizedthat our tender overlappinghas been taking place only inside me.All that sweetness, the love and desire—it’s just been me dialing myselfthen following the ringing to another roomto find no one on the line,well, sometimes a little breathingbut more often than not, nothing.To think that all this time—which would include the boat rides,the airport embraces, and all the drinks—it’s been only me and the two telephones,the one on the wall in the kitchenand the extension in the darkened guest room upstairs.
One fun thing about getting old is memory. Having a broad set of stuff from which to draw.
It never gets old. Unlike me.
A Fixed Idea
–Amy LowellWhat torture lurks within a single thoughtWhen grown too constant; and however kind,However welcome still, the weary mindAches with its presence. Dull remembrance taughtRemembers on unceasingly; unsoughtThe old delight is with us but to findThat all recurring joy is pain refined,Become a habit, and we struggle, caught.You lie upon my heart as on a nest,Folded in peace, for you can never knowHow crushed I am with having you at restHeavy upon my life. I love you soYou bind my freedom from its rightful quest.In mercy lift your drooping wings and go.
–Babette DeutschWhat do we need for love—a midnight fireFlinging itself by fistfuls up the chimneyIn soft bright snatches? Do we need the snow,Gentle as silence, covering the scarsOf weeks of hunger, years of shabby having?Summer or winter? A heaven of stars? A room?The smiling mouth, the sadness of desireAre everywhere the same. If lovers goAlong an unknown road, they find no lessWhat is familiar. Let them stay at home,And all will still be strange. This they knowWho with each heartbeat fight the fear of change.
Poem Beginning with a Line by Milosz
–Mark Irwin“The most beautiful bodies are like transparent glass.”They are bodies of the selfless or of those newlydead. What appears transparent is really flameburning so brightly it appears like glass. Whatyou’re looking through is the act of giving: Onething in life needed desperately, given to another,or perhaps life itself. The most beautiful bodiesare not transparent, but sometimes the colorof lead, like the elephant whom a child with somepeanuts lifts by the trunk in his hand in the swirlingdust, so that it appears he has lifted a monumentor a city with all its pain. The bodies that seemtransparent are made of an ice so pure it appearsto be glass sweating, where you, desiring another,glimpse your own face that weighs nothing and is burning.
Food of Love
–Carolyn KizerEating is touch carried to the bitter end.
-Samuel Butler III’m going to murder you with love;I’m going to suffocate you with embraces;I’m going to hug you, bone by bone,Till you’re dead all over.Then I will dine on your delectable marrow.You will become my personal Sahara;I’ll sun myself in you, then with one swallowDrain your remaining brackish well.With my female blade I’ll carve my nameIn your most aspiring palmBefore I chop it down.Then I’ll inhale your last oasis whole.But in the total desert you becomeYou’ll see me stretch, horizon to horizon,Opulent mirage!Wisteria balconies dripping cyclamen.Vistas ablaze with crystal, laced in gold.So you will summon each dry grain of sandAnd move toward me in undulating dunesTill you arrive at sudden ultramarine:A Mediterranean to stroke your dusty shores;Obstinate verdure, creeping inland, fast renudesYour barrens; succulents spring up everywhere,Surprising life! And I will be that green.When you are fed and watered, flourishingWith shoots entwining trellis, dome, and spire,Till you are resurrected field in bloom,I will devour you, my natural food,My host, my final supper on the earth,And you’ll begin to die again.