George WALLACE (USA)

George WALLACE (USA)


American poet George Wallace is writer in residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, first poet laureate of Suffolk County, LI NY, and author of 31 chapbooks of poetry in the US, UK and Italy. A former US Peace Corps Volunteer (Korea), he has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, as well as numerous locations in the United States. A native New Yorker, for 5 years he lived and worked in the United Kingdom and he continues to travel there regularly.
A former student of Marvin Bell and WD Snodgrass, George holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Oregon, and teaches writing courses in the NYC area at Pace University and Westchester Community College. His work is collected in the archives of Hofstra University, and his poetry recorded for the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
Among his recent appearances are presentations and collaborations at the Ledbury Festival, Ways With Words, Dylan Thomas Centre, Robert Burns Centre and Women’s International Arts Festival (UK); About-Art and Skiathos Writing Retreat (Gr); Centro Trevi and Odradek (IT); Festival d’Avignon (Fr); and in the US, the Woody Guthrie Festival, Kerouac Festival, Howlfest, John Steinbeck Festival, Center for Hellenic Studies and the International Beat Festival.
Recent chapbooks include Smashing Rock and Straight as Razors (Blue Light Press ’17); A Simple Blues with a Few Intangibles (Foothills Press ’16); and Poppin Johnny (Three Rooms Press ’09). He has two bi-lingual collections published in Italy by La Finestra Editrice; and an English-Greek collection published in the US by Three Rooms Press. Among his UK collections are Burn My Heart in Wet Sand (Transference, ’04) and When I Was Dead (Flarestack ’06).
In 2012 Nirala Press in India published Incident on the Orient Express, chronicling his experiences through poetry and pictures traveling from Europe through the Middle East and Nepal and ultimately to India by train in the 1970s.
In 2017 Israeli documentary filmmaker Omri Lior recorded George reading his work at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, for the series Poems With A View: Poems from Around The World.

IF YOU COULD REMOVE THE DEAD FROM THE DEAD


If you could remove the dead from the dead, bomb by bomb, eye by eye, if you could pluck the mad bull screaming, from blood and from dust, from the arena, death unstrung, life returned, the fields of faces, their embraces, like clover, like honey, tooth by tooth like bees in grass, while the generals were not watching I mean, while the dictators were not watching, while the idiotic cheers and jeering of the crowd, while the circular race of steel and money and blood and macho, while the worship of the sword, nobody watching,

Oh it is crazy to think it, oh it is stupid to imagine it, all the sleeping dead rising from death, standing at the bridge, looking down from the parapet, all the incoherent laughter, perfect innocents raised back up from the heap, all the untroubled song, no more disillusionment, no more oblivion, do you understand what I’m trying to say, can you see it for yourself, the slaughtered sons and daughters, sharecroppers and soldiers, students, nurses, factory workers and miners, all the sweet lives returned to the living,

And all of us embracing them as they rise, I would have you embrace them, I would have you salute and sing them, and welcome them, the dead from the dead, eye by eye, released from their paralysis, liberated from the uselessness and consignment of their caustic dead sleeping, risen from the junta of dollar and nation and power and design, speaking truth to the ruling class, talking the true talk to those who carelessly plant them into soil,

No not again, no more this root and rock of going! the dead from the dead, taking back their plows and their farmhats, shaking the reins their fathers and grandfathers put in their hands and returning to their work, hands full of seed and dreams and callouses and sweat, can you hear them singing the song of the living, can you see the morning sun in their beautiful faces, their penetrating smiles, can you feel all it, their small love, their bravery, men and women, risen, children of god again, risen, their mothers’ voices softly ringing in their ears,

And am I so stupid as to suggest it, am I so stupid as to imagine it, all their faces in the mist of civilizations and idiotic rain, the dead separated from the dead, bullet by bullet, eye by eye, walking again, hand in hand, like the walking sun

OMAGGIO A   L. ARMSTRONG

It is the second part of the XX Century snow is falling and a man in Rome who is you know playing on a trumpet this song he has composed, & it is a good day, you know, a very good day in the kingdom of jazz, a miracle has happened today – this man has been released from Joliet prison & he has left Chicago & he has changed his name, & he has left the country & he has come to Rome — in prison he prayed for this

it is a miracle to him as big as snow

& now he is standing in front of the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore & he is performing his song in the falling snow & the song the song is the sound of his godfather in Sabine Parish Louisiana the morning they caught him hiding in the pines & the song is one part desire & two parts the baying of Texas bloodhounds & the song is two parts dying & one part Louisiana shrimp trawler

& the traffic & pedestrians & the snow in the air

& the jazz is the jazz is the jazz is the jazz — & a young woman on a bicycle who was just riding past, a woman wearing a black overcoat, black gloves & a tight fitting red scar & beneath her coat a white blouse with pearl buttons — a woman who studied philosophy at the university & furthermore she knows a man who knew a man who one time met Gregorio Corso but didn’t know it was him at the time — a woman who was just pedaling along happily & laughing at the snow

& heard this song over the sound of the traffic

A young woman who has stopped and gotten off her bicycle & has walked over to listen to the man with the trumpet standing in the snow in front of the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore — & in the middle of the crowd over the rushing sound of traffic and people & the city & all that snow she speaks something out loud –

Satchmo, she says – Omaggio a Satchmo –

And she starts to dance

WALKING ON TENTH STREET

We are walking on tenth street in the direction of Neptune Diner a Polish diner which Simon likes to go to but you have to get there before 11 am if you want the breakfast special and that’s important because Simon likes to arrive while they’re still offering brunch which means unlimited orange juice and endless hot cups of coffee 

When we run into Max Camber but no time to stop and talk and besides
Simon doesn’t like Max Camber these days and he doesn’t want to talk to Max Camber because even though Max studied film at UCLA he doesn’t know how to approach his subjects with what Simon likes to call sympathetic objectivity

And so we shake Max’s hand and keep on walking and eventually we get to avenue a where the Korean green grocer is warming his hands over a chestnut fire and a light rain is coming down and Simon tells me about his recent visit to Provincetown where he is editing the selected works of Robert Creeley and how good it is to work with Creeley’s son because the man’s devotion to his father is admirable complete and entirely sincere

And it is spring in the city and the tourists are returning not unlike the last time i came to town to visit simon but that was a different scene we were on our way to drink red wine and listen to jazz at Mo Pitkin’s and we were both of us looking sharp and photogenic and carefree on Avenue  when some protestors started to crank things up — crazy! said Simon

And it was crazy it was crazy and colorful and gay it was a parade of angry flowers it was the Rosebowl parade and Thanksgiving and St Patrick’s Day and Christmas all roled into one

And we stopped to watch them and shout things out and smile at them

with their big angry banners and their coterie of cops but like I say
that was a while ago and we were angels of the New York City night
whereas this is a Thursday morning in spring and when we get to the diner ‘it is already past half eleven” says the waitress in her polite but sad Polish accent over the bustling sound of waitresses counter help busboys dishwashers spoons plates and customers

The joyful crash and clink of the world

and we look at the clock on the wall

and we look at each other in our ragged clothes

and we look at her and the entire western world

working for a living except us

and we don’t care anymore we’re happy now

we have found each other

we don’t even mind paying full fare

for our eggs over easy, rye toast

OUR FOOD IN YOUR HANDS


How can a man walk thru a supermarket anywhere in America without feeling the imprint of your hands on everything he touches — hands strung in the dawn of cinch bug nematodes smell of dung — plastic buckets bandanas & shorthandled tools — hands which dream

of beanfields straw beds & barbed wire — cornsilk & buttermilk — the watery music which leaps like fish out of blue mestizo night like your family’s laughter & into day 

You migrate thru South Carolina like drift of fog you harvest tomatoes in Florida you migrate thru Delaware Maryland Connecticut & Maine you harvest potatoes apples soybeans peas beets — beets spinach & beets — you tend to broilers heifers hens & sows — you harvest wild rice

you pick avocados & grapes you plant white tufts of cloud into the hair of your children like seeds in heaven

O lettuce! O bold Salinas valley! — O crates of California!

Plums apricots Oregon cherries in plastic bags — in low country & on the high mountaintops cucumbers string beans brussel sprouts walnuts peaches & almonds — oysters in their shells — broadcast spreaders sprinkler pipes & burlap sacks — how can any man woman or child in Colorado Alabama Arkansas Missouri Louisiana or Illinois — any man woman or child in Cochise County Arizona or New York City

ever walk through an American supermarket without feeling the power of your steady eyes — balancing every crop & planted field in America against the remaining hours of day —  your back your neck your feet your shoulders & especially your hands — whole families of hands –tired cut bruised  bug-bit hard with work — unwitnessed underpaid ripped off & oh yes ready to take being kicked out

Because you come back, don’t you, you always come back — you burn thru mist like the border sun, which migrates thru every supermarket in America

EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY

Everything is going to be

okay. Crickets will sing

for you. Maple leaves

will turn their maple leaf

colors. Northern mists

will descend from Canada

to cool things down. The

terrible winds will subside.

it’ll be October and the

hurricanes will be over.

Okay I will not be here

but everything is going

to be all right. The sky

will open up its arms

again and embrace you,

the way summer held you

in its strong arms. The way

winter tends to grip the world

in snow but then it lets the world go.

The way sunlight held you like a yellow

daffodil in green grass in spring. Before you

met me, I mean. Before I held your hand

in my hand. The way the memory of

my hand in yours will hold you,

after I am gone. All the long

years you will go on living

in this world, without me.

George Wallace USA

IF YOU COULD REMOVE THE DEAD FROM THE DEAD


If you could remove the dead from the dead, bomb by bomb, eye by eye, if you could pluck the mad bull screaming, from blood and from dust, from the arena, death unstrung, life returned, the fields of faces, their embraces, like clover, like honey, tooth by tooth like bees in grass, while the generals were not watching I mean, while the dictators were not watching, while the idiotic cheers and jeering of the crowd, while the circular race of steel and money and blood and macho, while the worship of the sword, nobody watching,

Oh it is crazy to think it, oh it is stupid to imagine it, all the sleeping dead rising from death, standing at the bridge, looking down from the parapet, all the incoherent laughter, perfect innocents raised back up from the heap, all the untroubled song, no more disillusionment, no more oblivion, do you understand what I’m trying to say, can you see it for yourself, the slaughtered sons and daughters, sharecroppers and soldiers, students, nurses, factory workers and miners, all the sweet lives returned to the living,

And all of us embracing them as they rise, I would have you embrace them, I would have you salute and sing them, and welcome them, the dead from the dead, eye by eye, released from their paralysis, liberated from the uselessness and consignment of their caustic dead sleeping, risen from the junta of dollar and nation and power and design, speaking truth to the ruling class, talking the true talk to those who carelessly plant them into soil,

No not again, no more this root and rock of going! the dead from the dead, taking back their plows and their farmhats, shaking the reins their fathers and grandfathers put in their hands and returning to their work, hands full of seed and dreams and callouses and sweat, can you hear them singing the song of the living, can you see the morning sun in their beautiful faces, their penetrating smiles, can you feel all it, their small love, their bravery, men and women, risen, children of god again, risen, their mothers’ voices softly ringing in their ears,

And am I so stupid as to suggest it, am I so stupid as to imagine it, all their faces in the mist of civilizations and idiotic rain, the dead separated from the dead, bullet by bullet, eye by eye, walking again, hand in hand, like the walking sun

OMAGGIO A   L. ARMSTRONG

It is the second part of the XX Century snow is falling and a man in Rome who is you know playing on a trumpet this song he has composed, & it is a good day, you know, a very good day in the kingdom of jazz, a miracle has happened today – this man has been released from Joliet prison & he has left Chicago & he has changed his name, & he has left the country & he has come to Rome — in prison he prayed for this

it is a miracle to him as big as snow

& now he is standing in front of the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore & he is performing his song in the falling snow & the song the song is the sound of his godfather in Sabine Parish Louisiana the morning they caught him hiding in the pines & the song is one part desire & two parts the baying of Texas bloodhounds & the song is two parts dying & one part Louisiana shrimp trawler

& the traffic & pedestrians & the snow in the air

& the jazz is the jazz is the jazz is the jazz — & a young woman on a bicycle who was just riding past, a woman wearing a black overcoat, black gloves & a tight fitting red scar & beneath her coat a white blouse with pearl buttons — a woman who studied philosophy at the university & furthermore she knows a man who knew a man who one time met Gregorio Corso but didn’t know it was him at the time — a woman who was just pedaling along happily & laughing at the snow

& heard this song over the sound of the traffic

A young woman who has stopped and gotten off her bicycle & has walked over to listen to the man with the trumpet standing in the snow in front of the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore — & in the middle of the crowd over the rushing sound of traffic and people & the city & all that snow she speaks something out loud –

Satchmo, she says – Omaggio a Satchmo –

And she starts to dance

WALKING ON TENTH STREET

We are walking on tenth street in the direction of Neptune Diner a Polish diner which Simon likes to go to but you have to get there before 11 am if you want the breakfast special and that’s important because Simon likes to arrive while they’re still offering brunch which means unlimited orange juice and endless hot cups of coffee 

When we run into Max Camber but no time to stop and talk and besides
Simon doesn’t like Max Camber these days and he doesn’t want to talk to Max Camber because even though Max studied film at UCLA he doesn’t know how to approach his subjects with what Simon likes to call sympathetic objectivity

And so we shake Max’s hand and keep on walking and eventually we get to avenue a where the Korean green grocer is warming his hands over a chestnut fire and a light rain is coming down and Simon tells me about his recent visit to Provincetown where he is editing the selected works of Robert Creeley and how good it is to work with Creeley’s son because the man’s devotion to his father is admirable complete and entirely sincere

And it is spring in the city and the tourists are returning not unlike the last time i came to town to visit simon but that was a different scene we were on our way to drink red wine and listen to jazz at Mo Pitkin’s and we were both of us looking sharp and photogenic and carefree on Avenue  when some protestors started to crank things up — crazy! said Simon

And it was crazy it was crazy and colorful and gay it was a parade of angry flowers it was the Rosebowl parade and Thanksgiving and St Patrick’s Day and Christmas all roled into one

And we stopped to watch them and shout things out and smile at them

with their big angry banners and their coterie of cops but like I say
that was a while ago and we were angels of the New York City night
whereas this is a Thursday morning in spring and when we get to the diner ‘it is already past half eleven” says the waitress in her polite but sad Polish accent over the bustling sound of waitresses counter help busboys dishwashers spoons plates and customers

The joyful crash and clink of the world

and we look at the clock on the wall

and we look at each other in our ragged clothes

and we look at her and the entire western world

working for a living except us

and we don’t care anymore we’re happy now

we have found each other

we don’t even mind paying full fare

for our eggs over easy, rye toast

OUR FOOD IN YOUR HANDS


How can a man walk thru a supermarket anywhere in America without feeling the imprint of your hands on everything he touches — hands strung in the dawn of cinch bug nematodes smell of dung — plastic buckets bandanas & shorthandled tools — hands which dream

of beanfields straw beds & barbed wire — cornsilk & buttermilk — the watery music which leaps like fish out of blue mestizo night like your family’s laughter & into day 

You migrate thru South Carolina like drift of fog you harvest tomatoes in Florida you migrate thru Delaware Maryland Connecticut & Maine you harvest potatoes apples soybeans peas beets — beets spinach & beets — you tend to broilers heifers hens & sows — you harvest wild rice

you pick avocados & grapes you plant white tufts of cloud into the hair of your children like seeds in heaven

O lettuce! O bold Salinas valley! — O crates of California!

Plums apricots Oregon cherries in plastic bags — in low country & on the high mountaintops cucumbers string beans brussel sprouts walnuts peaches & almonds — oysters in their shells — broadcast spreaders sprinkler pipes & burlap sacks — how can any man woman or child in Colorado Alabama Arkansas Missouri Louisiana or Illinois — any man woman or child in Cochise County Arizona or New York City

ever walk through an American supermarket without feeling the power of your steady eyes — balancing every crop & planted field in America against the remaining hours of day —  your back your neck your feet your shoulders & especially your hands — whole families of hands –tired cut bruised  bug-bit hard with work — unwitnessed underpaid ripped off & oh yes ready to take being kicked out

Because you come back, don’t you, you always come back — you burn thru mist like the border sun, which migrates thru every supermarket in America

EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY

Everything is going to be

okay. Crickets will sing

for you. Maple leaves

will turn their maple leaf

colors. Northern mists

will descend from Canada

to cool things down. The

terrible winds will subside.

it’ll be October and the

hurricanes will be over.

Okay I will not be here

but everything is going

to be all right. The sky

will open up its arms

again and embrace you,

the way summer held you

in its strong arms. The way

winter tends to grip the world

in snow but then it lets the world go.

The way sunlight held you like a yellow

daffodil in green grass in spring. Before you

met me, I mean. Before I held your hand

in my hand. The way the memory of

my hand in yours will hold you,

after I am gone. All the long

years you will go on living

in this world, without me.

WE BURNED OUR WAY TO NOWHERESVILLE

She needed to rest that’s all, she said,

somewhere which was anywhere and

out of the cold, she needed to wash a

certain something out of her memory,

something bad that happened back in

Guatemala or maybe just out there in

the street, and there was not enough

light in the candle to burn but it was

new year’s eve and new year’s eve in

New York City is supposed to be special,

a time of new beginnings and happy

endings a moment when time stops

worrying about itself and considers

itself lucky and fine and almost alive,

and maybe I could help her with that,

could I buy her a drink, and she was

nearly seventeen, but she couldn’t

exactly prove it, and her sister lived

in Brooklyn and told her to look for

a place with a phone and there was

a booth in the hallway but her sister

hadn’t called yet and that’s why she

was hanging around you see it took

two and a half days on a greyhound

to get here the people on the bus

were stupid and crazy and the man

in the next seat wouldn’t leave her

alone and this place was warm and

cozy and they left her alone, thank

Jesus for that, people ought to leave

each other alone and just be kind she

said, there was a war back home and

it had ruined everything, the people

were poor and the people got angry

and decided to do something about it

so the soldiers began to come on with

their yanqui guns and the people were

dead and dying and the villages burned

and her brother was dead at the age

of 14, a bullet through his forehead,

and she liked my eyes, they were empty

and inviting, could I just show you how

we dance, back in my village, she said –

and I said sure of course why not I’m

not much of a dancer but it was a dance

my body recognized – I could dance to it,

a refugee dance, she swung me in her arms

like a cradle, like a grave, like we were two

shipwrecked sailors swinging in the bottomless

pit of the same empty sea –

and the weight of the world lifted and lifted,

the phone in the hallway rang off the hook,

and time stopped — we burned our way to

nowheresville — and then we sat back down

and it was New Years Day –

LIKE A PEACH TREE BLOSSOMING IN WINTER RAIN


I have never regretted the noise a city makes when it becomes too big to hold itself in, when the lights turn green and streets come alive — when the music trapped inside a city gets to be too much, like bottled wine, and has to come out

or the small noises a city makes, singing to itself at dawn, when no one much is listening, I have never regretted that, the forgiveness song a city sings to itself, more beautiful than the yank of fiddle, than the blown pride of flute or jackhammer

the small sounds of a city no one can hear, amid all the noises, when I am listening I mean, your voice ‘singing in all the world,’ like Paul Eluard said, like birds sing in an awning at dawn — no, I have never regretted that

it is a new year, I could blossom out from these walls that bind me yet, from this jazz that holds me in — it is a new year, I am not done yet, I could sing a song, for anyone who’s sober enough to listen

like a peach tree blossoms out in winter rain
I could blossom out yet, with your song

SOME ACCIDENTAL CATEGORY OF MIRACLES

It is all audible to me, the alchemy and the telling, triunfo del amor, the secret telling, the terrible rosebud of your heart,  volcanic, circular as a jewelers saw, the robust harmony, the melodramatic padlock of your circumstances, even the sharp intake of your breath, all audible, all audible, yes! I could listen for hours, all night in the darkness, the shape of your living breath a candle flame, terrible majesty

Anything could move me, what your lips say, what your teeth what your tongue, how they shape the darkness, how in the dark darkness of night, dispeller of gloom

An otter slips through river mist, blue smoke from the cabin fire, what was supposed to be loneliness is sunburst, a sun which has been held up in the clouds for years, this longing to be inside you, restless, restless, to feed and to kiss your secret mouth, to be an otter, a rainbow trout too, a loon, to be fed and kissed by you, tell you unspeakable things, sacred things, all foolish, all audible

These wings these hands this fluttering of wings, on the tip of my tongue, at the base of my spine, where my manhood begins, I can taste this silver going, this snowmelt surging, these are your earrings these your pearls, I place them in my mouth and suck them like stone, I fill my nostrils with them, their pitiless breathing,

For you a rock to cradle, for you a river to rock, for you, merciful, your lips your tongue your teeth your hair, midnight approaches, molding to these contours, in my imagination I am ten feet tall and naked and yours

This falls outside the category of miracles and makes light of material day, this zone, this hoofprint, flint, flint, flint, persistent stomping of shard and rock, some accidental category of miracles, this triumph over the natural order, of you, in you, beside you, filling my lungs

This will make me weep, this will make the crying of foxes palatable, the field and restless woods, holy, holy!

A brace of pheasants moves along the edge of a cornfield, I lean my ear close to you, the whirr of your voice in your throat, like a thistle breathing, all audible, all audible, this eternity, this first embracing, all miraculous and new and forever audible,

To me this flight of birds, to me this fall of alpine water, wings and cries and icemelt, icemelt and riverrock, I hear it all tonight, and you lying here beside me

your extraordinary breathing,

your tender gasps of miraculous wonder

THIS SCATTERING OF LIGHT IN WHICH

I DISAPPEAR INTO AN IMAGE OF YOU

This scattering of light in which I disappear into your image, the first anticipation of meeting you, the moment I took your hand and we turned to walk across a city park, autumn wasn’t cold yet, simply to breathe was magnificent, crisp and cool and the pavement glistened, a weak light teased the auburn out of your hair, extraordinary light, natural, swinging along easily

You were always in your element you said, and I was trying to hold to your gaze while memorizing the movement of your eyes, and the shape of your mouth, which was a passage from Gabriel Faure, and your laughter, which was the ghost of illuminated summer, and your pensiveness and deliberate conversation — in college it was always like this, you said, you were the one who didn’t roll with the jokes

And picking our way through a crowd of Italian tourists a couple of gray squirrels sat stupidly in the autumn grass to watch you pass, and I could read in your stride and in the way you held your body the careful grace of an educated woman, how to find your way, how to navigate in an impulsive world, steady, slow, slow, slow, you never talked down to anybody, not even me, although you knew you could

And your voice was husky with French cigarettes and 20th century philosophy, and you pronounced my name like it was a perfume, cautiously at first, then boldly, Georges… Georges… as a blue and white wave of pigeons parted in front of us, and I fell hard for you, the full measure of you, your stride, your resolution, how you pulled us along, you were taller than me and your accent was perfect

And your shoulders brushed stars out of the sky, into the undertow of autumn, I mean, below the canopy of trees, the leaves of autumn beginning to fall, on their way to oblivion, and the branches of wild cherries shimmied in anticipation of your passing, and out on the street, vendors were crying and you wanted a coffee so we sat down at a cafe, and you shrugged your jacket from your shoulders

What was I expecting, Nirvana?

And your eyes were narrow and you were wearing a white chemise, a gift from your father, you said, he bought it in Paris, it was his business to know what was stylish, his taste had always informed your taste — and yeah, that was an exquisite blouse, so was the intentional way you leaned forward to kiss me

This is meant to be done slowly, you said. Intentionally. Like a promise, like a disappearance, like a prayer.

THE VERY ACT OF YOUR EYES, SHINING LIKE PALESTINE

Thistle goes to seed and so do men,

and no I am not religious and neither

am I dying, not just yet, I am night,

night is steady, night is a map with

no stars, how many thousand years

have come and gone and I am all of

them and only a few, there is no guide

to go by, and that’s okay, the wisdom

of centuries is an old-fashioned notion,

the lines in the palm of our hands are

message enough

This weak signal, this alien intelligence

which rules our lives, Dante wouldn’t

like that, what is wanted is a fixed point

in the night, something steady we can

go by, something reliable as perfect lovers,

breathing together, internalizing each other,

or this small cloud which crosses your face

at night, like the ghost of a Jesuit priest

slipping through a courtyard, like doubt

or the wind, like Lorca or a grain of sand

from some apostolic desert captured in

a jar, like you lighting a cigarette, or me

lighting a cigarette for you

Like time itself, lighting itself up, because

time is immortal and it doubles back on itself,

and wind blows smoke into your face like

the sulphur of Troy and night is the skin of

St Sebastian pierced by a thousand arrows –

as full of arrows as a sea urchin — and yes you

are absentminded and your love is accidental,

we were all young once and loved, though not

in equal portions of pain

Share your mouth with me like the limpid moon –

press your mouth to heaven — say whatever you

wish, speak into the abyss, that’s why it is there –

with your voice which is satin, with your lips

which are freed slaves and the color of brushed

gold, with your eyes which are Andalucian, your

small voice singing like an orange grove in rain and

on a night like this I can imagine you in a previous

life, a pony in a corral, your blood racing, hooves

trampling everything in your path, cactus and rock

and clod of earth

The very act of reincarnation, your body a Lydian harbor;

The very act of your voice, mortal as a thousand Greek sails

The very act of your eyes, shining like Palestine