Drunk as drunk on turpentine
From your open kisses,
Your wet body wedged
Between my wet body and the strake
Of our boat that is made of flowers,
Feasted, we guide it - our fingers
Like tallows adorned with yellow metal -
Over the sky's hot rim,
The day's last breath in our sails.
Pinned by the sun between solstice
And equinox, drowsy and tangled together
We drifted for months and woke
With the bitter taste of land on our lips,
Eyelids all sticky, and we longed for lime
And the sound of a rope
Lowering a bucket down its well. Then,
We came by night to the Fortunate Isles,
And lay like fish
Under the net of our kisses.
a single dog
walking alone on a hot sidewalk of
appears to have the power
of ten thousand gods.
why is this?
Unfathomable Sea! whose waves are years,
Ocean of Time, whose waters of deep woe
Are brackish with the salt of human tears!
Thou shoreless flood, which in thy ebb and flow
Claspest the limits of mortality,
And sick of prey, yet howling on for more,
Vomitest thy wrecks on its inhospitable shore;
Treacherous in calm, and terrible in storm,
Who shall put forth on thee,
The bird of Spring has flown away. Long south
her feathers trail, forgetting cool wind song
and coos of happiness. And why's she wrong
to soar above my love with scattered youth?
Another bird is nesting in cold groups
on Scotland’s shore, her plumage bright and long;
enamoured of her shrilling calls among
exhaling frosty nights and twisting swoops.
I, who have seen so many flocks that made
the fleeting joy trill, still am sad to know
they're gone, perhaps never to return again
or if they do perhaps changed, with wings outsplayed
to other mates, with other rhymes to show
that catch the dry wind’s struggle on the plain
Like clustered balloons,
gentle armada pads
through the grey city.
I’ve planted a garden of words in these pages
and plucked a few flowers for you.
They are awkward and tiny; I only hoped
to make them right when they reeled
drunkenly off my tongue.
My mouth makes them ugly, brutish, plain…
speech that stains the air. And I hope
for my mind to grow roots in yours
and make its home
together with you;
there will be time for every strange, beautiful thought.
Have you asked the tightrope walker
where he is going?
At the airport, I ask you
why you must travel?
to see the world.
But when you return, you say you will tell me if I am yours.
We gratefully watch the walker’s feet
petals on a necklace
like these words that I
lace around your ears
keeping me alive
high above the ground
Over there. Eventually, it is true.
Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly
in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers. . . .
How did it go?
How did it go?
She left with the leaves,
blown away by the October wind;
She left on a warm night with the full moon.
Days before, she stood at the door, silently, silhouetted against the bright sun;
saying goodbye to the light, goodbye to the world.
What about the visits not made, the places not seen?
- no matter;
No more winters to endure;
No more Novembers to wait through.
She left with October, before the cold winds blew the world gray;
She left with the yellow leaves, free to fly away.
My mother-in-law, Barbara Romaine, died after a long illness on October 31, 2001. She gave me many things from beautiful clothes to good will.