Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Cities of Lost Love

(after “House Sparrow” by Lance L. Rockwell)

Sparrow in its niche in the city,
on its window ledge
with the creeping Ivy—

Sparrow turned backward
to the window that mirrors him:
Sparrow amid the textures,

dear and idyllic—
always about to flutter away
but for thin rays of sunshine—

all part of the textured;
a small focal piece
within the angles and light

in relief against
the white lace
inside the window

curtained against
the window ledge itself,
the white window frame,

the stucco,
the ivy that grows along
the sill and up the unresisting wall.



now on the day it should have rained
they were going to San Francisco
by way of Sonoma
(a joke they came to
after many broken trips and
safe returnings)

if they had gone
maybe the
death wouldn’t have happened
one wouldn’t have had to call the other
on the telephone
(cancellations are delicate timings
of plan and error)

if it had rained
they might have been safe
going with
instead of under
(so many new words to say
from point of shatter)

(first pub. in Purr, 1975)



In the city of lost love there is only one blessing and it is yours. Even the shadows will coil softly about you. Flowers will ignite at your watching; their petals will swell and fall; your breath will smother when you try to speak. Do not speak. There is no way out but through the mirrors—the mirrors will resist you. The walls are but thick draperies that rustle and murmur in the moist background. The lost ones who find you will bring you with them into their desire.  You will not remember them, but you will sob to find them, leaning against you. Nothing will last here, though it will all begin again—exotic as guilt. In the background, a Dark Being with frail unfolding wings will fly out and hover above you, and you must protect it from leaving here or it will lose you.


There is a color of old fields:
overgrown yellow
scratching at the city-eye,
waving like necessary grain,
reaching across
the disappearing sidewalks
with a thistle-touch of warning.

It is a tall color
and harder than amber,
its brittle, round stalks gleaming
like yellow bone
in the boneyard of its being.

It talks in the wind
and quarrels with the wild rose
that lies bleeding in its center
where beer cans listen,
crushed and glinting
when the sun comes reading.

It is a color of survival
in deprivation,
triumph of wild over man’s brief taming;
a self-sufficient color,
waiting on rain for some far greening,
and hardier
than man’s fragile meaning.

(first pub. in Bitterroot, 1967)



now that you
are long haired
with such
a purry smile
your eyes clever that you
have tricked me

do not go away
leave me
in the trap
the key by my hand
a sheet of instructions
on disassembling

let me follow you
through the city in the
your warm
against my warm
the lights dilating like
new eyes

and I will
change form
for you
whim after whim
if you
watch me only
in windows we are passing



While I am here,
there is always an elsewhere:
a train going through the city again.
I can hear it. Feel its rumble.
It has a distance.

If I am on the train, it is another me.
We live the same life.

Just now a squabble of birds,
brief and eloquent.
I miss them.

Where has it gone, the perfection . . . ?

Just now a bird lights on the fence
outside the window,
a nervous silhouette
against a perfect sky.

And there it is: a moment of perfection—

once more saved
by a simple act of abstraction—
a manufactured symbol made of simplicity:

Oh, to have what we want and never lose it.


Today's LittleNip:


The ghost horse in the city field
is content with the surreality

of traffic blurring past
and roams the fenced width

or just stands quietly
since it is I who have loved him

and allowed him to remain there—
as he was—in his lonely life.

(first pub. in  Song of the San Joaquin)


—Medusa, who suggests you celebrate upcoming Mother's Day with our new Seed of the Week: My Mother's Voice

And thanks to Joyce Odam for today's stellar poems and pix!