Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
and fro moving New and
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and
without breaking anything.
Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.
It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.
It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the love who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.
I can’t do it, you say it’s killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bounding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.
My love for you is more
athletic than a verb,
Agile as a star
The tents of sun absorb.
Treading circus tight ropes
Of each syllable,
The brazen jackanapes
Would fracture if he fell.
Acrobat of space
The daring adjective
Plunges for a phrase
Describing arcs of love.
Nimble as a noun,
He catapults in air;
A planetary swoon
Could climax his career.
But adroit conjunction
Link to his lyric action
A periodic goal.
We were sitting there, and
I made a joke about how
it doesn’t dovetail: time,
one minute running out
faster than the one in front
it catches up to.
That way, I said,
there can be no waste.
Waste is virtually eliminated.
To come back for a few hours to
the present subject, a painting,
looking like it was seen,
half turning around, slightly apprehensive,
but it has to pay attention
to what’s up ahead: a vision.
Therefore poetry dissolves in
brilliant moisture and reads us
A faint notion. Too many words,
From Poetry; March 2009
It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher
It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought
It spills on the floor so fine
we step all over it
We carry a pinch behind each eyeball
It breaks out on our foreheads
We store it inside our bodies
in secret wineskins
At supper, we pass it around the table
talking of holidays and the sea.
I wish the bell saved you.
“Float like a butterfly
& sting like a bee.”
Too bad you didn’t
learn to disappear
before a left jab.
Fighting your way our of a clench,
you counter-punched & bicycled
but it was already too late—
gray weather had started
shoving the sun into a corner.
“He didn’t mess up my face.”
But he was an iron hammer
against stone, as you
bobbed & weaved through hooks.
Now we strain to hear you.
Once the dream begins
to erase itself, can the
dissolve be stopped?
No more card tricks
for the TV cameras,
Ali. Please come back to us
sharp-tongued & quick-footed,
spinning out of the blurred
dance. Whoever said men
hit harder when women
are around, is right.
Word for word,
we beat the love
out of each other.
for Lurline McGregor
Ah, ah cries the crow arching toward the heavy sky over the marina.
Lands on the crown of the palm tree.
Ah, ah slaps the urgent cove of ocean swimming through the slips.
We carry canoes to the edge of the salt.
Ah, ah groans the crew with the weight, the winds cutting skin.
We claim our seats. Pelicans perch in the draft for fish.
Ah, ah beats our lungs and we are racing into the waves.
Though there are worlds below us and above us, we are straight ahead.
Ah, ah tatttoos the engines of your plane against the sky—away from these waters.
Each paddle stroke follows the curve from reach to loss.
Ah, ah calls the sun from a fishing boat with a pale, yellow sail. We fly by
on our return, over the net of eternity thrown out for stars.
Ah, ah scrapes the hull of my soul. Ah, ah.