When we press our faces
against the glass
of what we suspected might be possible
yet never dared to try,
then shall we find ourselves tangled
like two iridescent sparklers
or coalescing threads of cosmic gas.
You and I, flint and tinder,
shift and weave down the potholed road.
People might understand, or they might judge.
It is for us alone to decide.
Coarse sand clings to our oiled thighs,
our golden shoulders.
How long has it taken
to come here? Long.
Far beyond the travel-time.
Our lives mimic the dunes,
ever fragile, constantly reshaping,
held together by unseen roots.
Back on the mainland,
away from these pastel houses
with their decks and shutters,
it will take greater effort to see
the most impermanent thing
in the world is us.
I will not assume I know
the first thing about you,
as you have done with me.
I won’t ask how a star
became a stone
at the bottom of the sea.
The case of us cannot be solved
‘til you begin confessing –
the nature of your wound unknown,
lest you unwrap the dressing.
So let us walk down separate roads.
On this, may we concur.
If only you weren’t who you are,
but who I thought you were.
Desire, you are a celebrity. I read about you in all the magazines. You’re the star of every movie, the subject of every novel. It must be hard to be so famous, when your heart is the heart of the deep woods – sometimes dark, sometimes bright.
Could I have your autograph? Can I get a picture with you?
At once you comfort and haunt me, as if you were a song of wind chimes on a lonesome gray day. Will you cut my bindings, set food and water before me, make me a naked prophet?
It must be tough, being so different from how the public sees you.
Might you be struck down, left to wither in the shallows of evening, only to be reborn many fathoms deeper down inside the night?
Let me tell you now
how much I will miss you.
Let me not spend another moment
alive on this earth with words unspoken.
Let me not wait until you are gone, as I’ve waited with so many now lost, and narrowed my eyes as withered chances blew past my flushed cheeks, lifted by a sudden wind, leaves in a wheelbarrow, carried back to the place where only a moment before, I gathered them.
As if I were trying to perform a task far too large for me,
something to test the bounds
of my mortal endurance.
I found you, poem, in my pen. Took you out for a night on the town, and even to the lecture I was scheduled to give. How odd to have only just met and then be cramming our tongues down one another’s throats like that, in front of all those strangers. I hate to corrupt a fresh young poem such as yourself, hate to take advantage, but you were so into me, and I was smitten with you.
So we were off, and there was nothing to be done about it. No disguising our literary lust, the pronounced hunger in our throaty voices. On further examination, I found myself tearing your clothes off and throwing you up onto the podium, which is actually expected of a poet by any audience worth its salt.
Still, how wildly unexpected to get it on like that in front of such a good turn-out, and then to do it again late in the evening at a second impromptu revision pulled from thin air in a dim corner of a hole-in-the-wall dive bar, the one where all the hipsters go on Friday nights to complain and be snarky.
Of course after all that, I invited you to come up with me at the end of the night. We celebrated with a bottle I’d been saving in the hope that someone just like you might come along someday. I drank most of it myself, you whispering sweet nothings in my ear.
Imagine my disappointment when I woke the next day to find you gone, a smoke ring, another one-night stand in my literary love life.
tough as mountain-bones,
you go for miles, years
without water or sleep,
patching hearts, mending hopes.
My heart moves so fast that it almost has me scrambling after it. But no, we are connected – it can only run so far before it’s left with no choice but to wait for me, jerked to a halt, a dog reaching the end of its leash.
That said, once I’d seen you off safely and on time, I went back to the bed you slept in, still warm with the aliveness of your body, and I wept and wept.
The whole history of my life stood before me: a spiral, a cathedral, dirt road, river. A sacred calendar, its entirety known only to me, only thought of as sacred by me.
I can withstand the sun and wind, I thought to myself. I can withstand the intangible, the horror, the splendor. But not this rain, these rising rivers – Oh Transcendent Energy, haven’t I seen enough rain?