How do I not give you rhyme now—
suspend in the moment—a direction.
I guide you : words—time between
I, at the measurement of this,
write slowly now : do not waste
or lose a word.
Word, Word, Come to me.
Love permeates—spills over—
fills itself with going—grief
before grieving, farewell refused
—Oh, Love, help us, help us,
lead us out of this. You—focal point—
receiver and giver of yourself,
hold my hand now as I am holding yours.
THE BETTER PART OF LOVE
Muse with me while we gather light for a poem.
We will read it later—
tell each other what it means,
then reminisce awhile,
compare amazements—how much our lives
how many years
we’ve known each other,
while we confess,
let down the burden of our cares
to hold each other’s dark—
find some new/old words
to fill our many silences with explication,
whichever is needed.
Old friend, as close and separate as we are,
I muse these thoughts for you
from this old, well-worn and reliable, loving heart.
Come rescue me.
I am going insane in the city.
The madnesses are all around me,
drawing me to them.
I have swallowed
all the aspirin
my throat will hold.
I laugh too many hours of the night.
My friends undo my hands
from endless suicides.
We save each other daily.
with long emergency numbers
I keep on hand to use;
all the work I never finish.
If I had time to
write the letters
I might tell you what there is
to fear about me.
Come for a day or two
and bring your news.
Meet the complicated people
who confuse me with their pleasures.
Come for the fun of it
and bring your envy.
TURNS OF FATE
And we were young and bent on suicide, but friends
dissuaded us—took our hands and ran us along the
beaches—all summer, teasing the waves and watching
the white gulls come down among us as if they were
tame. But these are lies, of course. I need your attention.
I need you to hold me from what might have been true—
if I had known you. Is that why we had no faces—only
those white masks—stark and featureless so no one would
know us, though we cried to be known; is that how we
became anonymous? Where were you then, my imaginary
one; were you on your way to important appointments—
famous and aloof—could I have touched you?
Her kiss was soft against my face—
elegant as a turn toward the next piece of music.
Her arms around me pressed and pulled away.
Mine did the same.
Our faces moved apart.
Our greeting was quick, but tender.
There was joy in our hello. Our embrace
was brief, but dancer-slow.
Our few words got scattered
in the choreography-talk of others—
that smooth camaraderie—that soft din—
that coming together of friends
on some occasion in honor of itself.
We worked the room. All evening
we would be here—mutual and warm—
part of the performance. And when
the evening ended, we would embrace again.
RETURNING TO SPEAK AS RAIN
Your words splat at the window—like rain
that stops at glass; and even so, some words
get through—not quite intact—blurrings of
message, or complaint—your last mouthings
that fall, as futile as ever, telling where you
have been, and what you no longer need or
love; words without context now, fragments,
half-words, that still argue the old points—
your old reasonings—returning to speak
as rain, torn by wind and distance—too far
to imagine now—even though your words
blur in, and run down the glass, like weeping.
Who do you think I am in the moonlight every night
by the dreaming window, watching stars leap
above ghostly cows,
the moon growing dizzy with love?
Who do you think dries the bones of light
that shudder the curtains?
And who do you think howls the dogs to sleep?
Who do you think is in love with impossible sounds
from the mouths of flowers,
those moans of dying in unfamiliar vases
on moon-dusted surfaces?
Watch with me—help me remember—since you
are the one who started all this with your sighing
and crying—refusing to enter
the terrible dreams.
There is only one more hour before light
comes swaying over the distance that is night . . .
Say this again to yourself: only the distance
of the night . . . Now you can sleep . . .
“To you I send a single snowflake, beautiful,
complex and delicate: different from all the others.”
—Louis Jenkins ("Too Much Snow")
I wish to steal—
so beautiful in that
poem I read by another—