for Susan O'Neill Roe
What a thrill ----
My thumb instead of an onion.
The top quite gone
Except for a sort of hinge
A flap like a hat,
Then that red plush.
The Indian's axed your scalp.
Your turkey wattle
Straight from the heart.
I step on it,
Clutching my bottle
Of pink fizz. A celebration, this is.
Out of a gap
A million soldiers run,
Redcoats, every one.
Whose side are they one?
Homunculus, I am ill.
I have taken a pill to ****
Kamikaze man ----
The stain on your
Gauze Ku Klux ****
Darkens and tarnishes and when
Pulp of your heart
Confronts its small
Mill of silence
How you jump ----
Lady, lady, should you meet
One whose ways are all discreet,
One who murmurs that his wife
Is the lodestar of his life,
One who keeps assuring you
That he never was untrue,
Never loved another one . . .
Lady, lady, better run!
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
"So surely is she mine," you say, and turn
Your quick and steady mind to harder things--
To bills and bonds and talk of what men earn--
And whistle up the stair, of evenings.
And do you see a dream behind my eyes,
Or ask a simple question twice of me--
"Thus women are," you say; for men are wise
And tolerant, in their security.
How shall I count the midnights I have known
When calm you turn to me, nor feel me start,
To find my easy lips upon your own
And know my breast beneath your rhythmic heart.
Your god defer the day I tell you this:
My lad, my lad, it is not you I kiss!
I wish I could drink like a lady
I can take one or two at the most
Three and I'm under the table
Four and I'm under the host
For this my mother wrapped me warm,
And called me home against the storm,
And coaxed my infant nights to quiet,
And gave me roughage in my diet,
And tucked me in my bed at eight,
And clipped my hair, and marked my weight,
And watched me as I sat and stood:
That I might grow to womanhood
To hear a whistle and drop my wits
And break my heart to clattering bits.
Men seldom make passes
At girls who wear glasses.
Why is it, when I am in Rome,
I'd give an eye to be at home,
But when on native earth I be,
My soul is sick for Italy?
And why with you, my love, my lord,
Am I spectacularly bored,
Yet do you up and leave me--then
I scream to have you back again?