With the pace of what’s happening. Yet, I am always inside my own head. And can be found alone, often. Or hiding. Or laughing in semi alone privacy, when there was a full moon, a roof and so much light creeping through metal, through trees, our silences and sentences and lit glowing tips.
I wanted to write and tell you about Pittsburgh and Sonia Sanchez. Her genius. She is 77 years old and put on a roaring show. The energy vibrating through her was ricocheted all throughout our bodies and smiles. She eats macrobiotic food and hugs everyone. Called me sister. Is there anything more beautiful than the African American habit of calling each other sister and brother?
I could have told you about the audience. And how shiny I felt, on the inside. How many people loved Palestine and came up to me in tears after, to say so. What a blessed experience. I don’t have the will power and the inspiration to write a lot today.
I have fallen in love with Stephen Dunn. It is official. I always suspected it, but now it is confirmed. I don’t care if he is in his fifties, married, with kids and way out of my league, I have fallen in love with Stephen Dunn. I will write something this week about how he took over my brain for two days, probably why I am not in any shape to write much today…
Here are some poems. It is impossible to pick ones that would explain how reading an entire book makes one feel. Its not fair, to choose a couple. I have previously posted some of my favorites. A little (lengthy) stalking of this blog will send you back to them. Yes, yes, I know I should start tagging. Sigh.
The sister I never had
enters my wife when I am
sleeping next to her.
So many times
I’ve watched my sister
come from her separate room,
the room that long ago
in a house of brothers
was an extra room
down the hall from where
I would dream her alive.
She climbs into bed
on my wife’s side
and I touch my wife awake
for now my sister and she
are the woman I must talk to
about incompleteness and love.
Awake, she doesn’t know
my sister is in her,
she doesn’t know why my embrace
has so much gratefulness in it,
why my questions are all
whispered as if
a father could overhear us.
She thinks I want to
make love but I remove
her hand and hold it,
ask another question
about high school and loss,
the kind of loss
that repeats itself every day
like being born
without a leg.
I watch my sister leave
as my wife takes me
in her arms, says hush
you’ve been talking again,
and I curl into her
as if it were possible
she could be everything to me,
alone like this,
More things come to them,
and they have more to hide.
All around them: mirrors, eyes.
In any case
they are different from other women
and like great athletes have trouble
making friends, and trusting a world
quick to praise.
I admit without shame
I’m talking about superficial beauty,
the beauty unmistakable
to the honest eye, which causes
some of us to pivot and to dream,
to tremble before we dial.
Intelligence warmed by generosity
is inner beauty, and what’s worse
some physically beautiful women have it,
and we have to be strapped and handcuffed
to the mast, or be ruined.
But I don’t want to talk of inner beauty,
it’s the correct way to talk
and I’d feel too good
about myself, like a parishoner.
Now, in fact,
I feel like I’m talking
to a strange beautiful woman at a bar, I’m
animated, I’m wearing that little fixed
smile, I might say anything at all.
Still, it’s better to treat a beautiful woman
as if she were normal, one of many.
She’ll be impressed that you’re unimpressed,
might start to lean your way.
This is especially true if she has aged
into beauty, for she will have learned
the sweet gestures one learns
in a lifetime of seeking love.
Lucky is the lover of such a woman
and lucky the woman herself.
Beautiful women who’ve been beautiful girls
are often in some tower of themselves
waiting for us to make the long climb.
But let us have sympathy for the loneliness
of beautiful women.
Let us have no contempt for their
immense privilege, or for the fact
that they never can be wholly ours.
It is not astonishing
when the scared little girl in all of them
says here I am, or when they weep.
But we are always astonished by what
beautiful women do.
“Boxers punch harder when women are around,”
Kenneth Patchen said. Think what happens
when beautiful women are around.
We do not question
that a thousand ships were launched.
In the eye of the beholder? A platitude.
A beautiful woman enters a room,
and everyone beholds. Geography changes.
We watch her everywhere she goes.
Waiting with Two Members of a Motorcycle Gang for My Child to Be Born
by Stephen Dunn.
I was talking to “The Eliminators”
when you were born,
two of them, high as slag heaps and
uncles to be,
all in black for the occasion,
All you wanted was out;
you couldn’t have known that you
when you came, or that your father
was let loose
from graduate school, a believer
I expected “The Eliminators” to
disappear, snuffed out
by a stronger force, a white tornado
of my own.
That’s not what happens, though,
as you will learn. They smiled when
they heard of you
and shook my hand. And another time
have been my head. May you turn
stone, my daughter,
into silk. May you make men better
than they are.
If the horse that you ride
is blind it’s good
that it also be slow,
and please stroke it
a hundred more times than you would
the powerful dazzling one.
To be generous is one thing,
but there’s a clerk in some of us,
quick to say yes.
Worry about the command
in the suggestion.
Worry about smiles, and those men
whose business is business.
There are joys and enigmas
of an evening alone
There are always the simple events
of your life
that you might try to convert
Did you know
a good dog in your house
can make you more thoughtful,
even more moral?
And sex without conversation,
sex that’s erotic or sleepy…
oh don’t let anybody tell you
there’s a wrong way to have it.
Tell your lovers the world
robs us is so many ways
that a caress is your way
of taking something back.
Tell the dogs and the horses
you love them more than cars.
Speak to everything
would be my advice.