Monday, December 04, 2017

One poem is brand new, one is in my book, To See Who's There

Lucien Pissaro, 1916
Time Change in Florida #2

Sapped, yes. But not finished. Not yet.
So what if I mostly live in my head?
Who says I have to be out running around
improving body income outgo technical savvy?

The dizzy awe of a Southwestern canyon at my feet,
a clean expanse of sunlit snow, a seat at a small iron table
on a terrace near a bridge spanning a shady canal, a few ducks. Yes. I do yearn,

but fuck that. The wizardry of Greek goats on the cliffs,
the exquisite calm of Prince Edward Island, conquests and seductions—
random delicious recollections lively and reasonably true live on
in Whitmanesque abundance, drifting, thundering, startling.

Come to my sunny room. We’ll lie in my ancient bed,
sing German Lieder, dance the pavane.
Come to my spacious room. Help me get this right.

The Painter, the Actor, the Piano Player
As fast as that I wake to astonishing desire.
I’d met you just once, but for them
(them the drained students trying to relax)
you are the stranger in the room,
(the room the shabby basement cafeteria in the old Juilliard building).
I can summon the flip of my belly as you stride to my table of dancers
(the room holds its breath) enfold me, kiss me (sighs)
and I refill here and now with that first taste of delicious knowing.
A phone call about a blind date who will meet me
on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art primes
me for the man who has picked such a place.
I’m early, filled with notions.
From the top I scan the city crowd, see you bound up
the proud staircase straight to me. How did you know?
Your talk’s all of a failed audition for Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point.”
At twenty-five you’re too old, but still you buzz because the great director
has seen you now and maybe... We walk south on 5th Avenue.
As we enter Central Park at 72nd St., the next two
and a half years have begun.
You arrive thirty-five minutes late (the first time I forgive you).
I’d raced downtown to my two rooms on 14th Street from Lincoln Center,
sweaty from ten hours in dance studios, desperate to shampoo my oily itchy head. Cleaned up seconds before your knock, I undo the police lock.
Your tweed jacket white shirt curly wild red/brown hair round blue smart eyes tall skinny grace punch me in the heart so that my chest contracts.
Did I gasp?

A fast heavy rain lowered a bough of the too tall old rose bush.
One pink bloom is done for but the other holds its fat shape.
The greens outside my window quiver. My wild Florida garden
applauds the sky; thousands of leaves have had their fill. All over
is bright gray light. I’ve been working at my French writing desk
with its view like a painting. My brother and I have landed here together,
each single, each quiet.
I applaud my young men. See us painted by Chagall.
Three times in four years I stepped off the cliff to ride the currents.
While aloft I danced, bounced, sailed, dove in winds, rains, heat and cold
like I’ve not known since. Just turned eighteen, almost nineteen,
and twenty-one, I flew over and through New York City
with you and you and you. Whoosh!
Who pushed, who pulled? No matter.
My hand, your hands gripped tightly until one of us loosened, let go.
Ah, July’s fierce sun is back, but the greens no longer thirst
and will not droop for hours.


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