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All of us are wounded and extraordinary –
carried to our fates
as if by serviceable beasts
become our fare until, perhaps responding
to some small involuntary dare,
we disappear – no longer
here or there: replaced by space.
It isn’t terrible that we don’t leave a trace.
who mostly can be counted on to tend us:
conscientious porters sweeping, turning on
the lights, generally putting things to rights.
Unsuspecting days and unexamined nights
with the intent to decode sleep –
and hadn’t gotten deep before
two emanations rose to greet me –
evidently glad that something
from the waking world had come
to enter theirs – awake.
I was so delighted I began
to quake and turn into
an emanation too,
which they dismembered.
I wonder how I’ll be remembered.
Some think it obeys strict laws –
but happiness doesn't care.
Unhooked to any cause,
it’s as promiscuous as air.
of evening blue,
three masks escaped,
last night, from you.
Divining other purposes,
they crept adeptly,
while you slept,
off your thin surfaces.
Entwining as they
billowed from your
pillowed head, they
hoped for a baroque
what they could
muster up on top
of you in bed.
Awake, you feel
now to fake it.
It sprouted out of me today –
looks like my love for you.
Perhaps it came to me to say
that I made that up, too.
night and day.
a yea or nay.
I don’t know
what to say.
I wish they’d
warmed up like a take-out meal
you ordered yesterday but didn’t eat –
congealing, intermingled, tepid – sour-sweet –
probably, by now, a trifle toxic –
but redolent with a mélange of flavors
you can only get
when savory room-temperature ingredients
are left to set and melt into themselves.
Your loves have risen from their shelves
as if they want you to resume them –
to consume them.
these odds, against
That there is somebody you never knew aboutis not surprising: how much of every New York City
day is lived because it can be lived anonymously?
I am besotted – ignominiously bidden by a hidden
presence to retreat with it into the covert brightness
of Manhattan light – which might as well be night.
the sun’s resolve –
deviously leaking –
foams into dissociation –
roams into a daydream –
an untethered scheme
in which the untied aspects
of a mind diffuse more
widely than they might
have done if intimacy with
another mind had not undone
them. If there are prizes
to be vied for, this may be
how we’ll have won them.
as if the greater part of you
had had to be imagined new.
It’s true, a malleable
substance with your smell
and hue most probably survives
the night: amorphous impulses,
proclivities and certain kinds
of reflex sight and fear
are probably in gear: you have
a sense, perhaps, of being
something you’d call “here.”
But then you’ve got to go
about the business of inhabiting
the clay, and forming something
that’s at least remotely equal
to encountering “today.” You do
what you can do. Strange
to feel you have so little say.
You seem to happen anyway.
Perhaps Eternity is one late sweet encapsulating August afternoon wherein
your creatures pile around you
in the room – affectionate, preoccupied –
attending to the slap of skateboards
whapping concrete in the park across
the street, the muted shout of rowdy
sixteen-year-old boys igniting impulse
into warm hormonal war, while soft
cross-ventilating breezes toss, commune
through windows in your darkening
East Village flat. Perhaps Eternity is that.
It seems beyond all reasonbut there’ll soon arrive a day –
August twenty-sixth –
quand je serai dans le Marais –
medieval Paris enclave
wherein convents and hôtels
all mixed aristocratically
to breed their arcane spells.
Last night I dreamed as I sat there
to nurse a café cup,
I saw, converging in its steam,
four ghosts of nuns erupt.
I don’t know why – though I confess
I was a trifle shaken.
I thought to ask – but quickly fled
instead, then, to awaken.
accost you in late summer –
softly split you into two:
one complacently continues
to enjoy the view,
a prospect which the other
is too nervous to pursue –
haunted by forebodings
for which none of what the sun
voluptuously does can offer solace:
some strong stream of doubt –
an incrementally increasing
August steam will out –
some subtly staining, dangerous,
inevitable sweat – some threat
of fate will surely turn the season’s
bright illuminated loves into
new species of attenuated hate.
You hold your selves
in fear and reassurance
through the night –
benign with the malign –
waking to discover neither
one of you was right.
Maybe you are
what it wanted you to be.
arrive in threes –
as trinities –
as trifurcated panoplies
of paradox. The keys
and locks to these
are hid as secrecies –
all named Godot.
Oh, all the woe
in every unavailing trio!
Split it up and go.
Encountering your colors
and your odd geometries –
imagining that locking eyes with you
will mitigate the rude surprise of you –
distract us from discovering
we’re not the least the same.
Care to keep it up?
Selves as adamantly intricate and hard
as randomly eroded blocks of rock –
intrinsically resistant – peremptorily scarred –
beyond the reach of influence or shock.
It’s hard to be as beautiful as me –as rapturously
interesting as Kierkegaard and brie –
as subtle and ignoble as the whole taxonomy
of Soul, in all its swift perversity.
I’d ask you and your grandmother to tea –
but oh, I know how hard it is to be
around a grand phenomenality
interesting and beautiful as me.
One of us sleeps
through the night.
So far it’s
Manhattan takes the heat for –bears the brunt of – losing light;
its heavy sun descends significantly
earlier than city night had grown
accustomed to in June – more sigh
than in July; though some odd
poignant tenderness revs up
enormous warmth in compensation –
in relation to the high anticipation
felt in blood and bone unconsciously
that everything is coming to
an end again – or to the bend
upon the bend upon the rendering
of rhythmic change: there is no logic
in the reason of a season: merely
repetition of the strange. Today
we won’t turn on the air conditioner:
we’ll hug each other, rub each
other till we’re stuporously hotter
than we ought to be, in sweet defeat,
and sleepy – deeply in another
cadenced pause – so many in the year! –
to cause us to be just as near
as we can stand to August.
of the universe
I thought you knew.
Swimming in the thick Manhattan chowder
of an early August Union Square –
with its smug muggy lunchtime air
of knowing – but not saying anything –
you wondered what you’d have to bring
to anyone to say today. Every time
you talked it came out mystic squawk:
ephemeral and rude: vague and impolite.
You tried, for instance, to explain why “Art”
is such a fright; why friendship as abstraction
has no meaning: themes all billowing
and leaning toward each other like entangling
webs of dangling spiders: nothing
with articulable specificity. But you would
justify existence in a chat. What friends
you have, to stick around for that.