Today, I brutally greet you
with a grunt
or a kick.
Where are you hiding,
where have you fled with your wild box
full of hearts,
and your stream of gunpowder?
Where are you now;
in the ditch where all dreams are finally tossed,
or in the jungle's spidery web
where fatherless children dangle?
I miss you,
you know I do--
or the miracles that never happen--
you know I do?
I'd like to entice you with a joy I've never known,
an imprudent affair.
When will you come to me?
I'm anxious to play no games,
to confide to you: "my life"--
to let thunder humble us
to let oranges pale in your hand.
I want to search your depths
and find veils
that will vanish at last in flame.
I love you truly
as the transparent enchantress of my thoughts,
but, truly, I don't love you,
as the confused angel that I am.
I love you,
but I don't love you.
I gamble with these words
and the winner shall be the liar.
Love!. . .
(What am I saying? I'm mistaken,
because here, I wanted to write, I hate you.)
Why won't you come to me?
How is it possible
you let me pass by without requiting our fire?
How is it possible you're so distant, so paranoid
that you deny me?
You're reading the newspapers
You're with your problems
of groans and groin,
entertaining yourself with an aspiration to mourning.
Even though I'm melting you,
even though I insult you,
bring you a wilted hyacinth
approve your melancholy;
call forth the salt of heaven,
stitch you into being:
When are you going to murder me with your spit,
When are you going to overwhelm me again beneath the rain?
When are you going to call me your little bird,
When are you going to profane me?
Beware time that passes,
Not even your ghosts appear to me now,
and I no longer understand umbrellas?
Every day, I become more honest with myself,
magnificently noble. . .
If you delay,
if you hesitate and don't search for me,
you'll be blinded;
if you don't return now,
infidel, idiot, dummy, fool,
I'll count myself nothing.
Yesterday, I dreamt that while we were kissing,
a shooting star exploded
and neither of us gave up hope.
This love of ours
belongs to no one;
We found it lost,
in the street.
Between us we saved it, sheltered it.
Because of that, when we swallow each other
in the night,
I feel like a frightened mother left
It doesn't matter,
kiss me again and over again
to come to me.
Press yourself against my waist,
come to me again;
be my warm animal again,
move me, again.
I'll purify my leftover life,
the lives of condemned children.
We'll sleep like murderers
who've saved themselves
by bonding together in incomparable blossoming.
And in the morning when the rooster crows,
we will be nature, herself.
I'll appear like your child asleep in her cradle.
Come back to me, come back,
penetrate me with lightening,
Bend me to your will.
We'll turn the record player on forever.
Bring me that unfaithful nape of your neck,
the blow of your stone.
Show me I haven't died,
my love, and I promise you the apple.
Carilda Oliver Labra
Another wonderful topic, Maricel! I have poetry books tumbled all about my desk....
Here's one by Audre Lorde:
I hear myself drought caught
Pleading a windy cause
Dry as the earth without rain
Crying love, in tongues of false thunder
While my love waits
Like a seeded trap in the door of my house
Mouth bound with perfect teeth
Sure of their strength on bone
While my love waits
To swallow me whole
And pass me as echos of shadowless laughter
Waits at the door of my house.
In my yard myths of rain
Hang like a sheet of brick-caught silk
Torn in the sun.
Lorde was a Caribbean-American writer, poet and activist, who called herself a "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet." I became familiar with her in the 70s when she taught at Howard University in Washington DC.
Unfortunately, she died too early...in 1992 at the age of 58...after struggling with breast cancer for 14 years. Sad, but she left a wonderful legacy.
When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.
Ursula K. Le Guin has been one of my favorite science fiction writers, but she is also a fantastic poet.
The Vigil for Ben Linder
Ben Linder's family lived just up the street, and our children went to school together. In his twenties, Ben went to Nicaragua to work as an engineer in a volunteer group bringing electric power to villages. He was the first American killed by the American-government-supported "contras."
That was twenty years ago. I reprint this poem now in memory of Ben and in sorrow that we must still hold vigils for young people sacrificed to the greed and folly of our government.
This rain among the candle flames
under the heavy
end of April evening
falls so softly on us
that it dissolves us
A child frets.
The grieving over names.
The same anger.
There are still far countries.
Mayday! they signal,
it’s sinking, crashing, it’s going
down now! Mayday!
But it used to mean
you went into the garden
early, that first morning,
to make a posy.
for a neighbor’s door,
or boldly offered —
“These are for your daughter! ”—
laughing, because she wasn’t up yet.
They were maybe twelve years old.
they went to different schools.
The bringing of light
is no simple matter.
The offering of flowers
is a work of generations.
Young men are scattered
like salt on a dry ground.
Not theirs, not theirs,
the brave children
who must learn the rules.
To bring light
to flower in a dark country
takes experts in illumination,
engineers of radiance.
Taken, taken and broken.
We are dim circles flickering
at nightfall in April in the rain
that quickens the odor of flowering trees
and the odor of stone.
is a dark government.
Circles of burning flames, of flowers,
of children learning light.
Circles of rain on stone and skin.
Turning and returning in shaken silence,
Sorrow is the home country.
From Elsa Gidlow:
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Had I know that you were going
I would have given you messages for her,
Now two years dead,
Whom I shall always love.
As it is, should she entreat you how it goes with me,
You must reply: as well as with most, you fancy;
That I love easily, and pass the time.
And she will not know how all day long between
My life and me her shadow intervenes,
A young thin girl,
Wearing a white skirt and a purple sweater
And a narrow pale blue ribbon about her hair.
I used to say to her, "I love you
Because your face is such a pretty colour,
No other reason."
But it was not true
Oh, had I only known that you were going,
I could have given you messages for her!
One of my favorite Filipino poets shares my surname, but I am not related to her: Marjorie Evasco
Elemental - marjorie evasco
LA CONDITION HUMAINE
There is a room where a man lies next
To a woman whose shoulders are lit
By morning. He wakes her to drift
Of clouds, wash of skies, drizzle
Of leaves in the air. “Magritte,”
He says into her ear, tracing
With a long slender finger,
A frame beyond the windowpane.
Another room in another time
Suddenly opens inside her.
She is standing by a window
Before the painting’s expanse of grass,
The cut of dirt road, and on the horizon
A stand of mountains measuring the reach
Of a single aspen. “La Condition Humaine,”
She turns to the man beside her,
As if to say she understood how inside
And outside the rooms of love
The landscape was not always seamless;
How, every time she turned her heart
Into an eye to invent with words the true form
Of being, dustmotes were already trapped
In the light of images, like this morning
Vanished fast into another day.
In no time they shall each be elsewhere.
These are WONDERFUL, Maricel!!!! I hadn't known of Marjorie Evasco, and I look forward to reading more.
The tropical images in the first poem take me back to life in the early 1960s in Hawaii...I was fortunate enough to live there then. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I remember the jasmine and the sweet, juicy flesh of the mango..."you are goldened on my tongue"...I can't think of much that's more sensual.
And the second poem...beautiful and poignant, just like La Condition Humaine.