Sunday, July 20, 2008

In My Mouth

Schubert Quartet No. 6

In furious packing
the switch of two wife beaters, black

In haste, yours joined
me on my journey back.
Mine, for you, was left behind.

I wouldn’t have noticed
if you hadn’t said, but you did
and I did.

Friday morning I put
your black shirt on
and for the day
it brought me the memory
of your skin on mine.

It offered memories of you next to me
and helped alleviate some of
that ceaseless longing
to be again joined to you.

This dance and the memory
of the dance
and the feelings of the memory of the dance
is a particular province
of the insular,
yet benevolent and hopeful …

This dance and the memory
of not one, but two bedrooms in Rhode Island
in the dark of night
under green boughs of maple
and above blue bowers of hydrangea
and in your arms,
and in my mouth,
and in the touch of a finger
to that happiness
that you not once or twice
or thrice or more allowed me…

(In the pleasure of bodies
next to each other
(that I had denied or forgotten.)

You are a gift and a joy and a treasure
and you inhabit a string quartet numbered 6
and sometimes,
of late and oftentimes
guide my hands
and gives voice
to what is within
but has no means
of uttering,
this delight that you brought
and continue to bring…

It brings the touch of my ear on your chest.
It brings your lips to my shoulder.

This simple black piece of cloth
brings the feeling of my hand
at the back of your knee
or my cheek brushing yours.

It brings a feeling of comfort
that led to the wonder
of you and I entwined and enjoined.

This cotton, black
This cloth,
certain on skin,
carries me through the day
with memories of
you standing next to the bed,
taking this shirt off
and putting it in the basket
before you climbed into bed
to kiss me.

And, that feeling of comfort
that led to the wonder
of you or I
or you and I entwined and enjoined

and we will again
and again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Franz Schubert, I am your Bitch

(Schubert: String Quintet In C, D 956)

Do not believe
the old saw.
It is lifting,
not falling.

The lifting took me up,
and up,
and up,
as if on a crane
over a city
over a landscape,
littered with
monuments to the past,
some over hallowed ground and
some over vast territories of rubble and debris.

I thought I could see you across the chasm.
It appeared, at least momentarily, that
you were on a crane of your own.
(I could not be certain because
you are a far more prudent man than I.
I am a man who has always sought flight.)

Lifted by desire, my spirits lifted,
my soul sometimes seemed outside my body.
(And this I mean in a very good way:
I could, at least momentarily,
be away from this it,
and stuff, and just be

with the thought of another person
for whom I might bring comfort and a little joy,
and not be tied to this egotistical fragility
and unending aloneness.)

There were things that I thought I couldn’t say with words.
Being aloft allowed me a kind of voice
I’d never known before.
The thought of you being aloft in another city,
in your life, in your body, the one, your own
unique and wonderful vessel, lifted and going
about your business and the facts of daily
dealings with your children’s cars, programs for youthful offenders,
meeting friends, fixing meals and laundry,
this was somehow a kind of comfort to me,
was somehow a hope, that somehow these cranes
could be maneuvered to come closer,
to bring the possibility that somehow distance and desires aside,
that at least momentarily could allow
for us to meet in our bodies and hearts,
and somehow,
in some miracle of stars and signs
and just plain working the details
it came to pass:

The crane dropped me off in Boston.
You met me there and took me into the countryside,
green and overcast,
mist and humidity to spare.
I could smell the green,
the maple tree in the front yard
and the electric blue hydrangea across the street.

I smell the
first time I held you in the bed upstairs.
I know the scent of holding back because
we did not know where Steve and Joann were,
or when they would return,
and we held each other,
but held back until evening.
We held back until after they had gone to bed,
and Ben had gone to bed,
and even then we held back until the morning.

And even though I told you that
when we were in New York that you led me though a door
and that I could never go back to being the way
I was before,
I can tell you that
being with you
when our bodies actually did
collide and meet that night and morning,
for the second time,
you opened a door and led me through
and I cannot go back.

And so it has been each time
I have touched my body to yours or yours to mine,
each time I have taken you as flesh in me.
Let me tell you that
your flesh in me has opened doors
that led to doors that led
to the very center, that was
and yet no longer is a physical center,
but to the very
heart and soul of me.

Being with you is a prayer
that makes time still.
Being with you is a hymn to the pleasure that can be brought into the
Life of another and the pleasure
the other might and must return.
What it is that you brought me is a
most bittersweet joy,
for in the giving it goes away
and makes me long for
you even and ever more.

So this is the quandary:
I don’t want cranes
I don’t want green landscapes
I just want you.

and your touch and your voice
and the slimmest possibility
of being able to give you
a door opening
to joy
in the way you opened those doors for me.

I truly don’t want the confusion and tears
that has been this day since dawn.
I do not want the ache that it is that
tonight you will not be next to me nor
in the morning wake up in my arms.
I do not want this amputation
that is you so far away.
I cried for the arm and leg of you that are away
from the possibility
of touch.

I know you find me intense
and often obtuse,
but I can and will tell you
that there was a moment I was with you
when I looked at your face on that pillow
and the smile on your face
made me know that we are forever connected.
I knew that in that moment
my touch ceased,
your touch ceased,
and we became one touch.

The axis of the world shifted
to that joining.
The lichen covered branches
and the old stone walls began
at first to turn
ever so slowly,
and the crow from down the road called
and the hydrangea, blue and electric
caught a breeze
and the soft wet breath of you
reached my ear.
The ocean receded
and the morning refrained
and the little township spinned
and spinned like a top.

The universe bowed down in acknowledgment
that the moment was eternal
and must for eternity be acknowledged:
You and I were joined in bliss,
whole and transcendent.
(This is New England after all.)

Do you know
that I love the smell of you?
Do you know I love the
salt and sweet taste of you in the
few moments before you wake up?
Do you know that I love the sight of you
sleeping, and especially waking and being through the day,

That I love sound of you walking down those creaking stairs
and especially I love the touch of you each and every time you offer me
the gift of you brushing my arm
or gracing my lip with the luxurious and saline touch of your
tongue on, or in my mouth or more.

Where does all of this take us?
That I do not know.
But, this I do:
that each tear becomes a diamond
and each diamond is a bit of a veil
And each veil may be moved to reveal

the tears that can reveal joy,

and I pray there is no end.