than each other, but you sound a whole lot like coffee on a
Sunday morning and the rain is falling bitter against the windowpane
and your elbows are making holes in the countertops, and
I only want to tell you that I wish I was as close as the threads of your
t-shirt, and if I can’t be that, then I’ll be content with
drinking my drink beside you, with the rain sloppy open mouth kissing
the roof, trying to dismantle the etymology of a conversation
that falls out of the realm of words."
through a snowstorm just to get home to his wife,
who was up waiting for him with the dogs and a hot supper.
As soon as he got through the door, he tore off his coat and gloves
and kissed her so hard her back cracked.
Sometimes I’m alone with my own pain, and it crawls around the floorboards
like a ghost
until I threaten to bottle it up and throw it in the cellar.
There’s nothing down there but roots and dried fruit, anyway.
It was your idea to assign us a novel about ourselves, 50,000 words
and no commas.
Life is just a run-on sentence. We’re all fucked, we’re all drifting lazily
through the current.
Occasionally I’m filled with a longing for you stronger
than air, than life itself.
What if I stopped breathing?
I wouldn’t be dead. No.
I just wouldn’t love you anymore."
“the sun doesn’t set anywhere unless it sets in Tucson,”
that dusk when we sat on the hood of my car,
folded into each other like the specks of white
inside the stitches of denim jeans.
That was back when we used to laugh at how
we had become
who parents and lambs
and various shades of pure white
stayed up late wringing their hands over.
That was back when we smiling
nailed judgements by their carpenter
hands to the floorboards under the carpet.
They could eat our bread bodies for all we cared,
drink our wine blood.
But, stars die all the time.
Now it’s ten months past
“you ain’t got nothing I never had,”
and all I can do
is press my hot forehead
into the inside of a dirty window
at how people find it romantic
when the blue sky turns deep purple
like a swollen bruise."
It was snowing and you were kind of beautiful
We were in the city and every time I looked up
Someone was leaning out a window, staring at me
I could tell you liked me a lot or maybe even loved me
But you kept walking at this strange speed
You kept going in angles and it was confusing me
I think maybe you were thinking that you’d make me disappear
By walking at strange speeds and in a strange, curvy way
But how would that cause me to vanish from the planet Earth?
And that hurts
Why did you want me gone?
I don’t know
Some things can’t be explained, I guess
The sky, for example, was green that night
Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us …
Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits …
No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves … Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men …
My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day - therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once …
Be calm - love me - today - yesterday - what tearful longings for you - you - you - my life - my all - farewell. Oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
but at this moment I am prepared to swear
that I would like nothing better than to spend
the rest of my life
picking the fallen hairs from your shoulders.
I would grow out my fingernails just for that purpose.
I would give up the ocean
for the mud puddles of your eyes.
We could move to South Dakota
and howl among the tornadoes
and stomp across the prairies
and fall asleep in each other’s arms
as sweat pools in the crevices of our elbows
and crop-dusters drone overhead."
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.
But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…
Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.
In the room where we lie,
light stains the drawn shades yellow.
We sweat and pull at each other, climb
with our fingers the slippery ladders of rib.
Wherever our bodies touch, the flesh
comes alive. Head and need, like invisible
animals, gnaw at my breast, the soft
insides of your thighs. What I want
I simply reach out and take, no delicacy now,
the dark human bread I eat handful
by greedy handful. Eyes fingers, mouths,
sweet leeches of desire. Crazy woman,
her brain full of bees, see how her palms curl
into fists and beat the pillow senseless.
And when my body finally gives in to it
then pulls itself away, salt-laced
and arched with its final ache, I am
so grateful I would give you anything, anything.
If I loved you, being this close would kill me.
“This Close” by Dorianne Laux
If words are the stars
Poems are constellations.
You need to know the figure
To shape out meanings.
And wherever you move
every nightsky speaks
a different language.
I crossed the line —
and left my northern stars
at that invisible border.
They were confiscated by
the equatorial customs office.
But I smuggled my poems with me
so I can still speak to you.
I exchanged my Little Dipper
for Magellanic clouds.
Instead of Polaris
Sigma Octanis brightens my horizon.
And I reach up high and I dig down deep
as every plant that has been
pulled out by its roots.
Lucky to have Leo and Orion
To help me bear my Southern Cross.