Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Wilderness of Love


It was sleep in the arms of . . . 

(whose unloving arms    
holding sleep?)

You slip in
through the mirror to the dream

to where
the holding arms

hold you,
the never-held

in the wilderness of love—         
a vast landscape of desire.

You go there,
through the sleep of another,

(the safe sleep
of the other,)
and fold into
the arms like a dreamed lover.



in doubles we see them:
images in two’s—

duplicate connections,
shadows attached to shoes

—admiring themselves
in the glad surprise of mirrors

—face to mirrored face,
each to each grown dearer

wearing the same rapt expression
saying the same thought

as if one still might disaffirm
the other—meaning death,

their eyes becoming tragic windows
opening together, enchanted now

with dazzled love
—dependent on one another.



That day there was a storm—a quarrel
of sky and sea—a division of force.

The clouds broke, the rain blew down—
churned under, and belonged to the sea.

The sea gathered and rose into the sky,
but there was no taming of either.

We walked along that shore to feel the
fury—answer our moods, our silence—

building now to the clash of power:
one fed the other, the whole winter of us,

daring—and uncaring of outcome.
This was a love to the finish.



We watched one flail against the other,
Love against Love,

words that were not words—
but reflex after damage.

How could we tell one from the other?
from such sameness.

Time is not used here,
everything back and forth—

like a hesitation—
a bare ripple upon the stillness,

on a harsh landscape,

unnamed here, like some tiny place
on the map of nowhere.

(After “Love” by May Sarton)

It was only love, and I was its failed student,
always looking out the window
into some daydream . . .

I mistrusted it, thinking its edges over-
powered its center
that was too far away, and deep . . .

I struggled with it—wanting it to be
different—wanting it
to equal my perfect illusion of it . . .

I could never learn my way
through all its disappointments.
It was love—a changeling—ungraspable . . .

Even now, I call it—censure it—challenge it
again— willing to soften my terms—
if only it will love me past my harsh resistance . . .



Ah, it is only love that he loves,
so quietly sad, so melancholy,
contented with
the drama of his loneliness,
sitting by the fireside
with a book
and letting his mind stray
—to love, of course—
those who have it
and those who do not.
He is an icon in the firelight
—half shadow,
half pose—
of such great loss.
How can he bear it!
Ah, poetry, of course—his,
and the words of others—
recalling the loves he almost had,
filling the past with memories,
perfected.  He is contented enough.
He has the sympathy of the many
who feel the way he feels.



It is not so much the expectation
as how things are:
cruelty comes first, and after.

What is left is in-between.
There is always one who will fail the other.
No equality here to make things easy.

There is a suffering to know. And disillusion.
If you can master these, you may
get through—value your scars—

show them proudly to each other—
even touch them lovingly,
and bless survival.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for the photos and poems to wind up our Seed of the Week: Love. Time to move on to a new one: Waves. Ocean waves? Radio waves? Marcelled hair? Waves of nausea (pregnant?)? See what kinds of waves fluff up your fancy and send poems, photos, whatever comes up to kathykieth@hotmail.com

By the way, Joyce is one of the many fine poets who will have work in the new WTF which will be premiering at Luna's Cafe this Thursday night.

We have a new Facebook album, thanks to Katy Brown: she has sent us photos of the Second Sat. Writer's Brush reception which was held at Sac. Poetry Center on Saturday, Feb. 13. Check it out!

And while you're "on" Facebook, check out Shawn Aveningo's page for many wonderful pix of the Marathon of Love reading last Friday night.


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

"Love is chaos"
           —Fakhruddin, Iraqi, 13th Century

There is
a force at work—
Being and Nothingness
made to copulate—and now there
is love.       
Love is
blessing and curse—
One would own the other.
Two will not be one—now there is