You must not think that what I have
accomplished through you
could have been accomplished by any other means.
Each of us is to himself
indelible. I had to become that which could not
be, by time, from human memory, erased.
I had to burn my hungry, unappeasable
so inconsolably into you
you would without cease
write to bring me rest.
Bring us rest. Guilt is fecund. I knew
nothing I made
myself had enough steel in it to survive.
I tried: I made beautiful
paintings, beautiful poems. Fluff. Garbage.
The inextricability of love and hate?
If I had merely made you
love me you could not have saved me.
ear early tuned to hear beneath the call to end
eating flesh, sentient suffering beings (creatures
bred now for slaughter will
then never be bred) less life less life tuned to hearstill the vow solemn and implacable I made as a kid
walking a sidewalk in Bakersfield
never to have a child, condemn a creature
to this hell as the prisoner
chorus in wonder is released into the sun, ear early tuned to hear
beneath the melody the ground-bass less life less life
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to the deadStandard
To the Dead
What I hope (when I hope) is that we'll see each other again,-- . . . and again reach the VEIN in which we loved each other . . It existed. It existed. There is a NIGHT within the NIGHT,-- . . . for, like the detectives (the Ritz Brothers) in The Gorilla, once we'd been battered by the gorilla we searched the walls, the intricately carved impenetrable paneling for a button, lever, latch that unlocks a secret door that reveals at last the secret chambers, CORRIDORS within WALLS, (the disenthralling, necessary, dreamed structure beneath the structure we see,) that is the HOUSE within the HOUSE . . . There is a NIGHT within the NIGHT,-- . . . there were (for example) months when I seemed only to displease, frustrate, disappoint you--; then, something triggered a drunk lasting for days, and as you slowly and shakily sobered up, sick, throbbing with remorse and self-loathing, insight like ashes: clung to; useless; hated . . . This was the viewing of the power of the waters while the waters were asleep:-- secrets, histories of loves, betrayals, double-binds not fit (you thought) for the light of day . . . There is a NIGHT within the NIGHT,-- . . . for, there at times at night, still we inhabit the secret place together . . . Is this wisdom, or self-pity?-- The love I've known is the love of two people staring not at each other, but in the same direction.
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You wear your body as if without
illusions. You speak of former lovers with some
contempt for their interest in sex.
Wisdom of the spirit, you
imply, lies in condescension and poise.
… Fucking, I can feel
the valve opening, the flood is too much.
Or too little. I am
insatiable, famished by repetition.
Now all you see is that I am luggage
that smiles as it is moved from here
to there. We could have had ecstasies.
In your stray moments, as now in
mine, may what was not
rise like grief before you.
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He had not been denied the world. Terrible
scenes that he clung to because they taught him
the world will at last be buried with him.
As well as the exhilarations. Now,
he thinks each new one will be the last one.
The last new page. The last sex. Each human
being’s story, he tells nobody, is a boat
cutting through the night. As starless blackness
approaches, the soul reverses itself, in
the eerie acceptance of finitude.
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Like Lightning Across an Open Field
Photo by Jonathan Bowers on Unsplash
You Cannot Rest
The trick was to give yourself only to what
could not receive what you had to give,
leaving you as you wished, free.
Still you court the world by enacting yet once
more the ecstatic rituals of enthrallment.
You cannot rest. The great grounding
events in your life (weight lodged past
change, like the sweetest, most fantastical myth
enshrining yet enslaving promise), the great
grounding events that left you so changed
you cannot conceive your face without their
happening, happened when someone
could receive. Just as she once did, he did—past
judgment of pain or cost. Could receive. Did.
The Poem is a Veil
V E I L,— as if silk that you in fury must thrust repeatedly
high at what the eye, your eye, naked cannot see
catches, clinging to its physiognomy.
The stone arm raising a stone hammer
dreams it can descend upon itself.
When the quest is indecipherable, —
… what is left is a career.Advertisement
What once was apprehended in passion
survives as opinion.
To be both author of
this statue, and the statue itself.
long and short linesStandard
Long and Short Lines