Henri Cole

As soon as I am doing nothing,
I am not able to do anything,
existing quietly behind lock and key,
like a cobweb’s mesh.
It’s four a.m.
The voices of birds do not multiply into a force.
The sun does not engross from the east.
A small fly ponders the fingers on my right hand
like fat worms. Somewhere, in an empty room, a phone rings.
On the street, a bare tree shadows a brownstone.
(Be precise about objects, but reticent about feelings,
the master urged.)
I need everything within
to be livelier. Infatuation, sadism, lust:

I remember them, but memory of feeling is not feeling,
a parasite is not the meat it lived on.


Photo by Erik Karits on Unsplash

on friendship


On Friendship
Henri Cole

Lately, remembering anything involves an ability
to forget something else. Watching the news,
I writhe and moan; my mind is not itself.
Lying next to a begonia from which black ants come and go,
I drink a vodka. Night falls. This seems a balm
for wounds that are not visible in the gaudy daylight.
Sometimes a friend cooks dinner; our lives commingle.
In loneliness, I fear me, but in society I’m like a soldier
kneeling on soft mats. Everything seems possible,
as when I hear birds that awaken at 4 a.m. or see
a veil upon a face. Beware, the heart is lean red meat.
The mind feeds on this. I carry on my shoulder
a bow and arrow for protection. I believe whatever
I do next will surpass what I have done.


Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash