AFTERGLOW

The searing passions spent,
now face to face, he’d trace
my features with a finger
the other palm lightly on my hip
and at times he’d linger
tickling my lower lip –
sometimes we’d kiss; sometimes
we’d just stay like this – lovers,
in their castle, above the world,
beneath the covers.

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Airport [or, How it really happened]

Of course he stopped when he saw her,
dropped his lone duffle bag as she walked over,
and she used it to cradle her banjo-uke
in its thin gray case; she hugged him
around the middle and he pressed
her head against his heart to keep it
from bustin’ out of its bone prison
as they both cried and laughed
like folks do when wars are over
and then they smiled and smiled
while, all around, people slowed down
and sideways watched, drank it in as if
they were at some healing spa – then,
believe it or not, the sun ripped off
its grumpy frazzle-beard masque,
reverbed off the floor and nearly
blinded everone, so suddenly
had it appeared – and no one
could describe the rest anyway

& because she knew now
that it was real; she whispered
she’d come the night before
to be sure to be there
for his flight and that
she’d kept the room
and they could get to
it on foot and when he hesitated,
she laughed instinctively knowing
that would make him feel safe,
so they walked over and
she had the key and they
couldn’t speak in the elevator.

Then, while he stripped
to his flight-wrinkled undies,
she played and softly sang
The Tennessee Waltz
and he didn’t bat an eye
as he watched her sitting
on the edge of the bed
with her ankles crossed

until he took the uke
and put it on the dresser
and began to undress her –
shoes and socks first – then
he put both hands lightly
on her shoulders to signal
he wanted her to lie down
so he could woosh off her jeans
as she had written in one of those
poems that never knew whether
it wanted to be racy or comic

and he kissed her stomach
and drank in the scent he
recognized as the one
in the letters – and he lay
down beside her,
her last clothing flipped
onto the floor as he punctuated
their abandon with tender little kisses.

Wasn’t the room temperature
would make anybody quiver
but they both did, here and there
– half in disbelief, half in anticipation –
and eventually she pulled him on her
though he was reluctant
having never brought himself
to believe she had really wanted
nothing more in the cosmos
than for the full weight of him
to crush her bones

but she did.

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à mi-chemin

What was it – seven seconds? Today, seven time zones away, she reckons, wonders how much has been gained so far, in this windfall winning – in the wind, yes, in free fall he’d said, half a world away just yesterday, but she sees more some premier danseur spinning now – or an olympic diver from a plane soon to slice the waves and whistle up some dolphin song, for she has known all along just how strong this thing is, sees him gaining courage – straight through space – as once he fancied that he saw them both beneath a lime tree, smiling as on a Christmas card, grinning so that all the world might see just how fine & wonderful things might be.

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CARTOON UPDATE

I swear he brings out
the Menace in me –
supine, socks drooping,
that bracelet of flesh
before the trouser hem,
the glasses on, though
the eyes are closed –
he’s Hank Ketcham
with midriff bulge

It’s the mouth open
that does it though, and
I really would be tempted
to dig out the bag of marbles
I found in the park last year
and drop one or two in
just as he snores,
like the distaff Denis
that I (eternally) am

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Moonlit love nest?

I awoke at 2 am to a thunderous snore –
there she goes again, I know that’s what you’re thinkin’
but I was Eva Marie Saint beneath a nose on Rushmore
[any wonder I dream of Washington and Lincoln?]
In turn I’ve been told that I honk often like a goose
[as it happens, I like geese, so I don’t really mind]
but I don’t believe my wee nose could ever produce
a noise to compare with Close Encounters of that kind!
I love the man entirely [if such needs to be said]
there are times though, I swear, that it’s hard to share his bed.

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True?

I would 
not swear 
easily as some 
that beauty is truth 
and this the sum of all
we may [or need] to know…
but the truth – the irrefutable 
truth of a nice equation –
an exact expression of a mathematical truth – 
is seen as beautiful by one who understands it…
 
truths are subject to histories, environments 
but The Truth is always self-evident and cannot 
be sanely disputed. It is not true that the sun 
rises in the east…but it is true that it is seen 
everywhere on earth to do so. 
 
and here, mon amour, my belovèd,  is a morsel 
easier to digest in English than in French – 
so reluctant to send its nouns out in the world 
without their headgear, uncapped in their article, 
as in La Vérité – but truth is not The Truth, now  is it.
Naked, it is truth as value 
rather than some fact or other. 
In fact, even lies may have value  – be valued – 
as truth once they are enthroned, crowned in that name.
[Indeed we are surrounded – suffocated – by the same.]
 
All cultures value truth although 
their purported truths may differ 
to the point of being radically at odds 
with one another. This may be
what the rebel heretic Nazarene 
was trying to explain when he claimed 
his father’s house had many mansions. 
[I was not there to ask the jew what he meant.] 
Hinduism does not need to say this 
in words or symbollic phrases as it embraces – 
the concept – embodies it even – in its myriad dieties. 
In sum, The Absolute Truth does not exist… 
except as a universal human craving for something of value.  
If only men could see this very evident and obvious truth 
instead of destroying themselves and each other 
for fictions their forefathers created  – that the unscrupulous 
manipulate in order to dominate and that the fearful 
and ignorant accept as fate…lies that have no intrinsic value    
but that masquerade in the name of truth. 
 
 
 
 
 
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[truth is probably not the ultimate human value either. I’d say other top candidates are love and life itself.  What is important, I believe, is the idea that we all crave something of value. Even atheists]

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Overcome with weariness

Like      a late     nineteenth century      black  locomotive
          spitting           and    smoking,
                             love
                                     comes grinding
                                                               to a halt.

          Even      great   love
   one day    may   come grinding
                                                               to a halt.

                              Words –
                like hammered fingers –
          though crippled
                                      point the direction
                                                        things are going

              Need we say it was not love
                    Now that love is perished
                                                  asked the poet

                      One soul in two bodies:
                   thus spake the philosopher              
                                     
                            Rueful dismay
           leaves all unprotected
                      leaves it to be scattered
                                               when violent winds
                                   are blowing

                [men fail to see
                            the surrounding violence
                                   just as fish don’t notice the sea]

          Am I then to wander,
                    empty             plastic homunculus
                          sorrowful         and aimless?

                     What is this thing called love –

                                  songs off my parents turntable
                            come unbidden
                                 to mind
                   but they no longer sing
                                         of romance
                                 and desire –
                                           perhaps
                           they are meaningful
                                though accidental
                                          provocation.

   as   love…grinds….to a halt
                  my heart longs for a velvet vault
                         dreams of a wingèd Charity
                              to resurrect a betrayed
                                        Solidarity

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Millay/Aristotle/Cole Porter

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