You Are At Home Here
I study lungs. I go nowhere.
I gaze at the edge of white mountains. I want to die.
The path goes into money. Now I can occupy a calendar
of authority and give away the tent. They are twisted
into the song, the food, the sea. They are dressed
in white stories. He wasn’t hoarse, who didn’t know,
a stamp healed the window and the wound together.
The motive is beautiful. The elephant is bottomless.
It spins vases and the girls in them.
It spills itself on little cups, a coffee, an airplane
kneels in the overgrown grass. This isn’t my bread.
The bread is all yours. It adorns itself with claws.
Jump into the factory of rough flags
and stretch the edge. Fall asleep with the stretched edge.
He fancies his chances are good with her,
unaware that in the years since the war
she has come to prefer women whose cunts
taste like mustard. To pin one’s hopes on
a bark-colored moth, its wings crinkled
like crepe paper, a moth affixed high
on the kitchen wall, frozen for days where
it will likely die in noble clinging mode
just under the cobwebby heating vent,
is to confirm your need for more friends
and a greater daily quota of sunlight.
To raise C.’s hopes that T. can stop
drinking and then to liken those
hopes to fields of undulating grain,
alfalfa perhaps, is to wish C. hip deep
in acres of unscythed denial. The blind
typist hopes she’ll be hired tonight without
her disability becoming an issue. L. said he felt
hope’s rhizomes race throughout his body,
radiating in all directions, like some incipient
disease he’d been fighting since childhood.
Hope, he said, it’s as insidious as bitterness.
If mother earth only knew how much we
loved one another she would creak, shudder,
and split like a macheted melon, releasing
the fiery ball of molten hope at her core.
when people hear a quiz show expert
talk about Auschwitz
they’ll ask themselves if they would have guessed
they’ll comment on the current champion
who never gets dates wrong
and always guesses the number of dead.
they’ll say maybe they would have preferred
to these Jews
who have always gotten themselves talked about:
they really attract persecution.
What is this road that separates us
across which I hold out the hand of my thoughts
a flower written at the end of each finger
and the end of the road is a flower which walks with you
quel est ce chemin qui nous sépare
a travers lequel je tends la main de ma pensée
une fleur est écrite au bout de chaque doigt
et le bout du chemin est une fleur qui marche avec toi
You’re coming to me and I sing
of your non-return
From azure heights
from deep shadows
Why are you hastening
with your dying
through slow living
The earth has long absorbed
Deaf time is not awakened
even by love’s howling
The heart has forgotten you
only the wrinkles on my face
You are for me as you cannot be
For yourself, chaos without demand
To speak, the amethyst nothing
Hidden inside the trinket shop’s stone,
Dark eyes dark asterisks where light
Footnotes a margin left blank. You
Don’t look up to look up at the sky.
Your ears parenthesize nothing
That occurs, that I keep from occurring,
In the poem, on the page, as you are
For me, not a shadow, but a shade
Whose darkness drops from no object
But is itself yourself, a form of time
Spanning nothing, never is your name.
The Other Shore of the Sea
It is time, love, to break off the somber rose,
shut up the stars and bury the ash in the earth;
and, in the rising of the light, wake with
those awaking, or go in the dream, reaching the
other shore of the sea which has no other shore.
I didn’t want to look at the huge white egg the mother spider dragged
along behind her, attached to her abdomen, held off the ground,
bigger than her own head–
and inside it: hundreds of baby spiders feeding off the nest,
and in what seemed like the next minute,
spinning their own webs quickly and crazily,
bumping into each other’s and breaking them, then mending
and moving over, and soon they got it right:
each in his or her own circle and running around it.
And then they slept,
each in the center of a glistening thing: a red dot in ether.
Last night the moon was as big as a house at the end of the street,
a white frame house, and rising,
and I thought of a room it was shining in, right then,
a room I might live in and can’t imagine yet.
And this morning, I thought of a place on the ocean where no one is,
no boat, no fish jumping,
just sunlight gleaming on the water, humps of water that hardly break.
I have argued bitterly with the man I love, and for two days
we haven’t spoken.
We argued about one thing, but really it was another.
I keep finding myself standing by the front windows looking out at the
and the walk that leads to the front door of this building,
white, unbroken by footprints.
Anything I’ve ever tried to keep by force I’ve lost.
“Perhaps you’ll tire of me,” muses
my love, although she’s like a great city
to me, or a park that finds new
ways to wear each flounce of light
and investiture of weather.
Soil doesn’t tire of rain, I think,
but I know what she fears: plans warp,
planes explode, topsoil gets peeled away
by floods. And worse than what we can’t
control is what we could; those drab
scuttled marriages we shed so
gratefully may auger we’re on our own
for good reason. “Hi, honey,” chirps Dread
when I come through the door; “you’re home.”
Experience is a great teacher
of the value of experience,
its claustrophobic prudence,
its gloomy name-the-disasters-
in-advance charisma. Listen,
my wary one, it’s far too late
to unlove each other. Instead let’s cook
something elaborate and not
invite anyone to share it but eat it
all up very very slowly.