The boys in Berlin were better,
Easy to devour, to bruise,
To let the awkward angles bleed
And love all night.
You didn't need a morning after.
There were others to unbend,
To torch into a different type of animal.
So different from the child at Gresham
Sailing poems into the dark lake
Only to regret that moment, rescuing them
The next night by torchlight, wading through
The water, amazed that they stayed soaked
But still floated. They dried for days in your room,
Held up near windows, hanging over chairs.
How could you know
Love was like this?
Coming towards me I see
a Fellini-esque figure
dressed as a roue
thick horn-rimmed glasses,
gray hair with hints of blue,
wearing a three-piece suit cut
too tight in the European style.
We recognize each other, embrace,
surprised, my arm no longer
reaches around his waist.
He has the pallor
of bouts with gin, unfiltered
cigarettes, scars of cancer
from too much sun.
Behind his ear the scent
of his familiar musk,
and I remember...
this man broke my heart long ago
in the dawning of emotions
when we were fresh, new, untested,
all things seemed possible
and we would be young forever.
Now he's living off friends in Cap d'Antibes
but must move on - could I buy their house for him?
he jokes, yet half serious. I hear his anxiety,
I smile, promise to think about it;
we exchange phone numbers, he waddles away.
In a window I'm surprised
by my own reflection,
balding, shapeless, also dressed too young.
A truck driver sees me primping,
makes a gesture, smirks, puckers his lips,
thinks he knows something.
He knows nothing of who we once were.
DONATING A KIDNEY TO MY SON
|Becoming a mother
meant I gave you life
a quarter of a century ago.
The pain was only transient. Although
I didn't know so young the joy and strife
the years ahead would bring into our life,
I was prepared to kill for you, to go
through fire, cut off an arm, fight any foe.
To give my kidney is no sacrifice.
The pain is only transient. I can live
with only one and call it luck.
I love you with my heart and soul and might.
The choice was made years before I'd give,
inevitable as that last hard push
that sent you from the darkness into light.
after John Ashbery
it was the way we stopped;
there was a need to.
The forest was thick, and yet
you stopped and I went on a little way
as though to deny the idea of stopping.
For then the world
was enveloped in night:
people were walking and talking
where light shone, then blackened
into emptiness. Then nothing.
A kind of phony suburban routine saves
the situation and isn't exactly real.
There is no joyfulness, yet things
get somehow done.
The dreamy era of my early life
became the printed record and look!
what does this thing say?
who knows what it is going to be?
Right now it cries like a child in the dark.
It might become a truer portrait
than we could have wished, for all
the major elements are there:
then you bent down under the waterfall
as though to read my heart
in the signs of the soil and it all
left my life, irrevocably.
I was left to describe it.
is your death
but a new blankness,
a wave that disintegrates
and leaves airy foam?
A gray-blue catbird
ambled near the window
this cold August
One day he threw himself
against a pane
again and again
left a pale shape of wings
on the glass.
You left a memory
which I touch gingerly
with only the edges of my hands.
should have known all along
things are not as they appear,
though once they do they are what they are -
sheer luck got you across the open space,
creating the illusion the mind's eye
was to be parallel to the line of sight:
but a straight path, whether there or not,
is just a manifestation, to be negotiated
when one has negotiated with its circumference:
you do not see that far, and no compass
could help you circumscribe four cardinal points
of forgiveness from the forgotten intersection -
besides, there's one thing always remains
unanswered, how much one is willing
to remember to survive all one has lost -
you'll move on: that's what those gone
leave you with, yet you have to perceive
memory's nothing but an endless dead end road:
|Every night your
ghost would spread itself out
across my bed
like white fleece-
I would pull up the sheets
and turn away from you to sleep.
That was the way your child
tucked herself into bed,
the only way for her to rest.
You did not wander the earth
to haunt me.
You were too practical,
entangled in thoughts,
engaged in a search for answers.
You were busy-
a soul gone to another reality,
made, I think, of different,
But the ghost of memories
you left behind
was the fleece I wore.
Soft and strangulating,
it blocked the wind,
shielding my skin
from the absence of you
as I played, as I slept,
as I grew older.
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