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Posts Tagged ‘love’

One Near a Mud Puddle

 

 

 

this old heart

wrinkled and graying

still learning to walk

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for Phyllis

 

 

I remember the day she chose me.

It was fall. I didn’t know then

I would come to love her, didn’t know

how trust would grow, like catnip, like oregano,

more robust, more wild every year.

I didn’t know how I’d been waiting to be chosen,

that she would help me find the wings I’d never felt,

never seen. That she would dare me to fly.

That she would be the wind.

 

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I was so excited to drop the impromptu Valentine

in through the car window—a white heart

with a big blue eye at its center that I’d ripped

into shape from an old magazine cover.

 

It slipped through the open window

and landed just right on the driver’s seat,

the eye facing up, the heart facing the door.

 

Imagine my surprise when my friend Kyra

told me she hadn’t been in town today.

Really? I asked her, stunned. Really, she said.

 

Because who would think there were two

red station wagons in town with the passenger door

bashed in and the back full of camping gear?

 

Dear stranger in the red station wagon who parked in town,

I know I didn’t give you the heart on purpose,

but I’m so glad I did. Sometimes our mistakes

 

have so much to teach us. Now I know

how I want to treat strangers: Like beloved friends.

Like people I thrill to shower with love.

 

 

 

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explicating the love poem—

only later realizing

I’ve been stained red

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First, you must weigh everything.

Precisely. The butter. The water.

The sugar, the salt. You must

catch the mixture just as it boils,

then add the flour, sifted and weighed.

You must set the timer to dry the dough,

must add the eggs slowly, must not

let it be too dry, too wet.

There’s more, my friends. The angle

of the pastry sleeve, must be 45 degrees.

You need to use the French star tip.

And then, you must not open the oven

lest the steam escapes and the eclairs

don’t crust. So many musts. So many dos.

And still they don’t always turn out.

 

It is not at all the way I love you. Though

sometimes I’ve tried to find the recipe.

Though sometimes I’ve wished it

were as easy as measuring well and using

a timer. I have wanted to do it right.

I have studiously wanted to make yours the best life.

 

But the only way to be a good lover

is to love. It has nothing to do

with following directions. Has

everything to do with the doing.

Like making choux pastry dough

together. Taking turns at the stove.

Reading the directions out loud to each other,

four times. And then watching the dough,

astonished as it goes from slimy to smooth

to something sturdy that shines.

 

 

 

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Shining

 

inspired by Erik Satie, Gnossienne 1

 

 

let me speak only in starlight

and let me wear only song

teach me to love in a minor key

and let the night

be long

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after Erik Satie’s Gnossienne 2

 

 

for you a song

with no measures

and this tessellating metronome

that ticks only love and slips

into each moment a forever

 

 

 

 

Dear friends,

 

You have perhaps guessed by now that I am doing a whole series of five-line poems on Satie’s Gnossiennes—five lines for the five lines of the staff. And each poem is titled based on the directions he wrote above the staves instructing the musician how to feel the music. There will be quite a few more … they’re really fun.

r

 

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The stomach replaces its lining

every four days. Every four days.

Because it’s so highly corrosive,

every four days it remakes itself

and becomes completely new.

Love, this is what I want to do.

Because sometimes we are acid.

Because sometimes we are cruel.

I want to start over every four days.

Every four days, let us be new.

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            for S

 

I don’t want you to die.

I know that is selfish,

but it’s the truest thing.

I know we don’t speak of it.

I know I am supposed

to find acceptance,

to find metaphors about

rebirth and letting go—

the trees are always good that way—

but I don’t want to.

I hate that you are hurting.

I hate how far away you are.

You and I both know

that I would never write this

in your card. No, instead,

I send a metaphor about birds,

about resilience and

the gift of wings. Instead,

I tell you I love you.

It’s the other truest thing.

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            title from William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act III, Scene II

 

 

I have a Caliban locked in my heart,

a child of the moon. He reminds me sometimes

 

of all the beautiful places he’s shown me—

the heart’s clear springs and its riches.

 

How we loved each other then.

There was a time he would offer

 

to lick my shoes. There was a time

I would follow him everywhere.

 

I invited him to sleep in my sheets.

I would rub his wild scruff till he purred.

 

I poured him my best wine in my best glass.

I sang him to sleep. There are some betrayals

 

we will never forgive. Or so

we tell ourselves. Now he is insolent.

 

Now I’ve built walls. Now he’s rebellious.

Now I’m master I’d rather not be.

 

It was so much more wonderful then

when we were friends, when I trusted him

 

and delighted in the most primal parts of me.

And though I lock him up now, he reminds me

 

through his cage of the sweet airs of the heart

and the music inside us that longs to be obeyed.

 

 

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