Jun 16, 2008

Thanks to everyone who emailed/commented on the love poems post. I would up just writing a poem myself, and not using any kind of collage procedure. It occurred to me that lucidity in this context was pretty important given that the people getting married were not poets, their families were not poets, and their friends (besides me) were not poets; in fact, I was likely the only poet in attendance, so coming up with some opaque thing for the sake of my own aesthetic agenda seemed sort of, well, stupid. I think this is the kind of thing every poet should do once--an occasional poem that needs to fulfill a transparent objective; somebody should require Bruce Andrews to write a poem for the dedication of a pediatric cancer hospital or something like that...

So here is what I came up with:


No magician or jeweler
wrighting baubles, such things
that fool the eye with their glint
but buckle like dry grass underfoot;
rather a microscope gazing
longly at fat drops: too strange
for the eye those things that love
lays bare, little things writhing slightly,
tiny lives what in expiration give
bubbles to bread.

No lock, no key, no door, no house,
no bed, no hearth, no cellar, no ceiling,
no window, nor wall.
Love is the ground.

No oxidized shine that bleeds black
& dim from the tongue of the air,
a cog pitted & dull, swinging
the arm of a clock, an engine
that purrs or groans, seizes
under weight, gives in, but to sputter
quick again when coaxed, love lives
in the creased skin or the folds
of the brain, doubling surface in its
tiny fist of a skull. No heart, but
the darling of the hand & the mind.

No face, no eyes, no ears, no nose,
no arms, no legs, no hands,
no feet, nor breast.
Love is the bone.

No beacon or lighthouse lamp, flame
a slave to the hours of its breath;
does not guide the ships to shore
but lives in the airless depths of cold
trenches where wide-eyed fish swim
by the sheen of their skins alone.
Or love is a shrimp in the sand, out
to feed with all bathers asleep.
A brook that babbles uphill, a book
of blank pages, rewritten daily, or
hour by hour, minute by minute.

No word, no act, no ink, no pen,
no poem, no name, no spirit,
no god, nor star.
Love is.

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