If it’s one drink, it will be two. Wisteria tangling
around your wrists. Here is where you buried your
father. Here is where you buried your brother.
Here is where they will bury you, when the
time comes. No wonder you drink yourself down
toward the earth. Home is where the shovels lie.
Earth and earth and earth. Stones crowd your sleep.
Granite and salt, sand giving birth to
the fortress where even your lovers sigh. Silent
underfoot. You dream yourself toward them.
You are foxfire, you are phosphorescent. Your
mouth like whiskey. Your eyes like whiskey.
You baptize yourself in sorrow, again and again.
You baptize yourself with bourbon and brandy.
You swim downward, fast salmon, heedless, handsome,
death is in you, it has captured your ear. You have your
father’s jaw, your brother’s chin. When you were born
they bathed your small body with their fears.
Each scar they’d earned became manifest on your skin.
Their love aches like a badly set bone. When the river takes
you, it will be no new baptism. Just that same, ancient sacrifice.
Just that rush, that rushing, and then you are gone.
I want you to know
You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.
If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.
if each day,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
-Pablo Neruda, If You Forget Me
The blessed damozel leaned out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.
-The Blessed Damozel, Rosetti
I stand above my bed
And examine the damage.
Blankets this way and that
Pillows all over
Sheets tangled up around themselves.
Proof of something that
Only hours ago
Left this place empty.
I take in the rubble
And breathe deeply.
I lower myself down to those
And backwards bedspreads
And fill my lungs with you.
I pull them up around me
And close my eyes
And wish for this place to be
The same kind of battleground
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold
- This is Just to Say, by William Carlos Williams
There’s an ancient, ancient garden that I see sometimes in dreams,
Where the very Maytime sunlight plays and glows with spectral gleams;
Where the gaudy-tinted blossoms seem to wither into grey,
And the crumbling walls and pillars waken thoughts of yesterday.
There are vines in nooks and crannies, and there’s moss about the pool,
And the tangled weedy thicket chokes the arbour dark and cool:
In the silent sunken pathways springs an herbage sparse and spare,
Where the musty scent of dead things dulls the fragrance of the air.
There is not a living creature in the lonely space around,
And the hedge-encompass’d quiet never echoes to a sound.
As I walk, and wait, and listen, I will often seek to find
When it was I knew that garden in an age long left behind;
I will oft conjure a vision of a day that is no more,
As I gaze upon the grey, grey scenes I feel I knew before.
Then a sadness settles o’er me, and a tremor seems to start:
For I know the flow’rs are shrivell’d hopes—the garden is my heart!
- A Garden, by H.P. Lovecraft
Small as a doll in my dress of innocence
I lay dreaming your epic, image by image.
Nobody died or withered on that stage.
Everything took place in a durable whiteness.
The day I woke, I woke on Churchyard Hill.
I found your name, I found your bones and all
Enlisted in a cramped necropolis,
Your speckled stone askew by an iron fence.
-Electra on Azalea Path, Sylvia Plath
You forgot to close the garage door
You might think he loves you for your money
But I know what he really loves you for
It’s your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Je n’aime pas dormir quand ta figure habite,
La nuit, contre mon cou ;
Car je pense à la mort laquelle vient si vite
Nous endormir beaucoup.
Je mourrai, tu vivras et c’est ce qui m’éveille !
Est-il une autre peur ?
Un jour ne plus entendre auprès de mon oreille
Ton haleine et ton coeur.
Quoi, ce timide oiseau replié par le songe
Déserterait son nid,
Son nid d’où notre corps à deux têtes s’allonge
Par quatre pieds fini.
Puisse durer toujours une si grande joie
Qui cesse le matin,
Et dont l’ange chargé de construire ma voie
Allège mon destin.
Léger, je suis léger sous cette tête lourde
Qui semble de mon bloc,
Et reste en mon abri, muette, aveugle, sourde,
Malgré le chant du coq.
Cette tête coupée, allée en d’autres mondes,
Où règne une autre loi,
Plongeant dans le sommeil des racines profondes
Loin de moi, près de moi.
Ah ! je voudrais, gardant ton profil sur ma gorge,
Par ta bouche qui dort
Entendre de tes seins la délicate forge
Souffler jusqu’à ma mort.
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about…
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
Keeping Quiet - Pablo Neruda
In spring of youth it was my lot
To haunt of the wide world a spot
The which I could not love the less-
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
And the tall pines that towered around.
But when the Night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody-
Then- ah then I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.
Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremulous delight-
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define-
Nor Love- although the Love were thine.
Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining-
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake.
-The lake by Edgar Allan Poe
don’t worry, nobody has the
beautiful lady, not really, and
nobody has the strange and
hidden power, nobody is
exceptional or wonderful or
magic, they only seem to be
it’s all a trick, an in, a con,
don’t buy it, don’t believe it.
the world is packed with
billions of people whose lives
and deaths are useless and
when one of these jumps up
and the light of history shines
upon them, forget it, it’s not
what it seems, it’s just
another act to fool the fools
there are no strong men, there
are no beautiful women.
at least, you can die knowing
and you will have
the only possible
-Secrets by Charles Bukoswki
The Open Man
There’s a man with a hole
that goes straight through his soul
and it’s open for all to see.
Just ask and he’ll tell
every joy, every hell,
and how it all came to be.
He will tell you unbidden;
no secret is hidden;
and he’ll speak with a gleam in his eyes
But he hides in the shells
of the stories he tells;
each story a cunning disguise.
It’s easy to heal
when all that you feel
is bared like a page in a book,
but the depth of a hole
in a broken man’s soul
depends on how deeply you look.
Each story’s a mask
with the ultimate task
of hiding the tears at the seams.
Tears in the heart
are bad for a start
but there’s nothing like tears in your dreams.
my father always said, “early to bed and
early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy
it was lights out at 8 p.m. in our house
and we were up at dawn to the smell of
coffee, frying bacon and scrambled
my father followed this general routine
for a lifetime and died young, broke,
and, I think, not too
taking note, I rejected his advice and it
became, for me, late to bed and late
now, I’m not saying that I’ve conquered
the world but I’ve avoided
numberless early traffic jams, bypassed some
and have met some strange, wonderful
one of whom
myself—someone my father