Thursday, August 18, 2005

2 new


In Persia you would have been happiest—

the air a frail satin, the clouds cut

to the earth’s form, and below, the loose

limbed Hindi gods in ink blot

pajamas, lounging. I won’t say languorous

you’d laugh, you’d strike

down with better words

like a rain storm. How like a goddess

then you’d be. When last

we kissed, you shied your ear

away from my mouth:

too sensitive to such touch.

But not your breasts

and not the scuff of your elbow.

It was in that breath

that worship could begin.

And I won’t say a thing

about Hanuman, the monkey god

and my all time favorite

deific goofball. For all his half-holy charm,

he has no place

in the contiguous heaven

of the bed. Tell me, would you,

what word out of all

has any place in my mouth except you and you and you?


The homework swallowed the dog

and I left my burdened wallet

in my other life, in my other car,

which is a Soyuz, Russian

in only the ways that matter.

And what those ways are,

well, I forget. It is a good thing

the constellation of atoms

you recognize as me

has not yet sought to diverge,

to divorce itself

from this idea I keep having

about being alive. That:

it’s lucky my lungs fill up with air

each morning like little

buckets brought to the pebbled rim of the river

by a girl who thinks

about devotion

the slow way back to everyone,

to endless thirst.

And that girl is you,

though you’ll bristle

at the very notion,

and rightly so:

what sense does it make to speak

of heartbreak

for even a moment

in this world cluttered as it is with warehouses

of cheap peanut butter,

skinned with little puddles of oil,

what sense does it make

to ask you

why I am constantly dreaming I’m late

to your life? What sense

is there anywhere?

In what tree sings the bird

to which I spent all spring

teaching it the mimicry

of your sweet laugh,

but not the burr of your anger,

like a stone,

like a blade,

and not the worried ways of your tired voice.

It’s late again

and the moon

teaches me stealth

and borrowed light

and lowered gravity

and before sleep floats me afar on its dreamless river,

let me say

my apologies

like a prayer,

to you,

let me miss you as long as I’m alive.


Diane K. Martin said...

These are very nice. I especially liked Apologia. I'm going to say something that sounds weird, but it's meant to be praise: it sounds like it was translated from another language. I mean the syntax is very fresh, unused.

riwipi said...

I wish I could get my formatting to show your page properly -- your lines are so beautifully broken that it's a crime to see them all run together as they are on my Mac OS 9.1, IE5.

Gorgeous, Paul. Thanks for both of them.

Phillip Knox said...

Both extraordinary. I'm saddened that I've been falling behind in my reading.