I have known the
richest scent of life.
With beautiful eyes,
I have seen
every last beautiful thing.
Is there no part of my body
that does not sing
I am sated,
the way the cicada does
just before she dies?
I am exhausted, can’t you see it,
How my eyes are so ripe with lassitude,
And you call them beautiful.
What is yet unborn wells up in me
And disturbs the symmetry of my charm.
And you think I have become so secretive,
But what could I now say?
The things that I fashion grow so frightening,
And speak on my behalf with
And see my hand,
What you once so fondly called
The coil of my creation,
See how monstrous it has grown,
And it already shapes my famed madness,
And it is as though I was no more than hand,
Brutal instrument of my genius
That would one day smother us.
But then you remember my lips,
Which have always been so childlike,
A sensuality wholly reserved for me alone
And waiting to break.
With full surety that air
And movement never fail,
Clasps my waist.
As if you knew that
I had finally surrendered,
Pressed to my neck,
Which already ever so lightly
And as if to assert that this
Dance should be anchored
In known things;
Turn, rhythm, embrace,
The dominant and subordinate one,
You pull back my loosening grip.
But notice how,
Like one who nonchalantly
Throws off her dress,
I have already abandoned equilibrium.
Headlong we will fall
In a chaos of unraveling distances;
Only then will I see what lies
Behind your poise.
No, let me turn now and go away
From your too complete fierceness.
Until you the women I loved
Remained encased in my art,
Figures I could bend in plaster, bronze,
With violence, with tenderness.
But then you burst forth,
And refusing this clay immortality
All men offer,
Deigned from the beginning
And I loved you,
Because to my sensuality you offered this
What in me had grown too smooth, yielding,
Discovered suddenly, in you,
A disheveled beauty that far outstripped me,
And my art became frightening.
From you I learned the craft of agony,
The torn open garden of your female genius,
That is now mine.
And what I create is ugly and essential,
The breasts of my women are inhuman,
The loins of my men collapse the world,
And those who look upon my art
Spit at its feet and turn away in contempt.
You have given me this triumph,
Returned to me stone and soil.
But I want myself back,
My languid hurt.
Your too full madness imprisons me,
And I don’t know what my art means,
For it surpasses us both
And annihilates our purpose.
No, let me turn now and go away
From your perfect love.
Like a riot of careless children,
the hydrangeas return to my garden.
They love the violence of the wind,
they dare it to unfurl them from the stamen,
to become a sail of pure disarrangement.
they out-do the infinite hues of the sky,
they out-sing the clouds.
And they are beautiful and full of hungers,
and they have forgotten the agony
of last summer’s drought.
And I am in love with their petulant hearts.
So, you’ve packed your things
and you’re ready to go.
On a little leaf folded into a dinghy,
you set off on a great, wild wind.
It’s all too big for you,
for me alone, I fear.
You’ll smash to pieces
on some calamitous street,
or a handsome hotel drifter
will hold you tight,
and on some cheap and neon night,
ruin your pretty little feet.
I’ll read about it in the paper,
and lose my appetite,
and my day will retreat into its room
and never speak to me again.
But that’s okay,
because if I’m honest,
you’re more like the apricot’s hard core
leaping on a tide of world.
I’ll never see you again,
that’s for sure,
but you’ll grow sweeter in my mouth,
with a sweetness that is sad.
And like me,
the lovers of all your hours,
bewitched and inconsolable,
will break their lips on your dark pip.
The night calls out,
death is death is death.
A crow beats its wings,
and night parts from night.
she slips in like a lover,
remembered and forgotten.
I remember life,
and death is death is death.
I accept the beating of rugs in the morning,
the cries of women to each other,
the importance of trans-continental trade,
of men who whistle when they’re sad.
Life is death is life.
I am life,
I am a war of life
that the night could not eradicate just yet,
a music of ruined and resurrected love.
I declare myself an open city,
and the dawn slips in like a lover,
I pour her a cup of coffee.