His mouth still felt warm from hers, the night air cold against his lips.
|—||Anna-Marie McLemore, from Wild Beauty|
What he imagined it would be like to taste a piece of the sky.
Anna-Marie McLemore, from Wild Beauty
they were two of a kind and now
they live elsewhere
from each other
or just elsewhere
they live in foreign lands,
in lush lands, in rich lands
on both sides of a forgotten country
they call there but never
by its real name, never home
never Home, they don’t know why
I’m one of them,
I am the one who called the other day
the other night
why do you call,
haven’t you anything better
to do but call ghosts
in the middle of my summer?
I’m in love, and there are
a hundred thousand miles
and six hundred and fifty two days
we’re not ‘there’ and never
will be again, why do you call?
I call because
I’m in the middle of winter,
and the stars here have frozen in patterns
you and I never saw ‘there’, and never will
I call because I’m not in love
unless you count ghosts,
I call because I haven’t said Home
in three years and fifty two days,
and now that I’m at it,
here is why I call
we were two of a kind, and you
are the other one, aren’t you still,
aren’t you, but whoever you are, I’ve nothing
better to do, how have you been?
— Kapka Kassabova, from “The immigrant cycle,” All Roads Lead to the Sea
Eros in an issue of boundaries. He exists because certain boundaries do. In the interval between reach and grasp, between glance and counterglance, between ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you too’, the absent presence of desire comes alive. But the boundaries of time and glance and I love you are only aftershocks of the main, inevitable boundary that creates Eros: the boundary of flesh and self between you and me. And it is only, suddenly, at the moment when I would dissolve that boundary, I realize I never can.
Anne Carson, from Eros the Bittersweet
Do you know what I want of life? That I can be with you, you, all of you
And if life repeated a thousand times, still you, you, and again, you.
– Forugh Farrokhzad
All the time I kept you out of my poems,
you found a way into my body instead.
Instead of your becoming another word
for dove or wrist bone, owl or stone,
you’ve become the impulse that has me
raise cairns to mark my way. You’re
what all verbs traverse, a fuse for the urge
to look at what I can’t see within what I can;
also the stillness inside me as wind-riven
leaves are driven over the roof shingles
into the night. Kindled by earth and sky,
you’re the touch of a tongue on my skin,
contingent and mortal; and the shy
reluctant love of faithfulness to what I feel
when at times I think there are no gods.
You are in me what is crucial and crucible
when the soul, in its root-fire, lasers and welds
each fissure and craze line of my loving elusive,
if pervasive, you. How stark it is to be alive–
and, although absence is the form you take
in what we call the world, how durable …
Margaret Gibson, “Not to Remain Altogether Silent,” Not Hearing the Wood Thrush
“If you allow an experienced man of the world to introduce you to passion when you want him more than he wants you, he will own your soul, but you will not own his.”
— Mary Jo Putney, The Bargain
Prose is a clear river, poetry a muddied lake, afraid of too much clarity.
|—||Peter Cooley, from “Window Zuihitsu,” World Without Finishing: Poems|
Remembering you …the fireflies of this marsh, seem like sparks that rise
from my body’s longing
Izumi Shikibu, from The Ink Dark Moon
me, summer was singing apart as we who were silence, sympathy,
sorrowful freedom, were sea still more than the sea whose long
blue spade was playing at our feet.
Summer was singing and your heart swam far from it.
I embraced your courage, heard your confusion. Road along the
absolute of waves toward those high peaks of foam where virtues
sail, murderous to hands bearing our houses. We were not credulous.
We were surrounded.
The years passed by. The storms died down. The world went
its way. I suffered to think it was your heart which no longer perceived
me. I loved you. In my absence of visage and my emptiness
of joy. I loved you, changing in every way, faithful to you.