- 3 months ago
of this dance
loving you the wrong way.
on your shoulders,
making porcelain of your jawline.
Idolatry is my way of saying
that the angels are still proud
of the tricks they pulled
to sculpt you. You have
and in the morning,
you smell like soil,
and you have taught me
how to stomach addiction
like it is just a promise,
just a diamond rimmed habit.
I will spend the better part
of this dance not realizing
I am better than worship,
not realizing I would like to learn
how first to sew chapels
and monuments into my own skin,
staple stainglass windows to my peripheral
as reminders to love myself
and let myself keep myself,
— May I Have This Dance, May I Forget it Afterwards? Ramna Safeer
- 3 months ago
- 3 months ago
it should not be used
like this. If I love you
is that a fact or a weapon?
— "We Are Hard on Each Other", Margaret Atwood
- 4 months ago
The useless dawn finds me in a deserted streetcorner; I have outlived the night. Nights are proud waves: darkblue topheavy waves laden with all hues of deep spoil, laden with things unlikely and desirable. Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals, of things half given away, half withheld, of joys with a dark hemisphere. Nights act that way, I tell you. The surge, that night, left me the customary shreds and odd ends: some hated friends to chat with, music for dreams, and the smoking of bitter ashes. The things my hungry heart has no use for. The big wave brought you. Words, any words, your laughter; and you so lazily and incessantly beautiful. We talked and you have forgotten the words. The shattering dawn finds me in a deserted street of my city. Your profile turned away, the sounds that go to make your name, the lilt of your laughter: these are illustrious toys you have left me. I turn them over in the dawn, I lose them, I find them; I tell them to the few stray dogs and to the few stray stars of the dawn. Your dark rich life... I must get at you, somehow: I put away those illustrious toys you have left me, I want your hidden look, your real smile —that lonely, mocking smile your cool mirror knows.
What can I hold you with? I offer you lean streets, desperate sunsets, the moon of the ragged suburbs. I offer you the bitterness of a man who has looked long and long at the lonely moon. I offer you my ancestors, my dead men, the ghosts that living men have honoured in marble: my father's father killed in the frontier of Buenos Aires, two bullets through his lungs, bearded and dead, wrapped by his soldiers in the hide of a cow; my mother's grandfather —just twentyfour— heading a charge of three hundred men in Peru, now ghosts on vanished horses. I offer you whatever insight my books may hold, whatever manliness or humour my life. I offer you the loyalty of a man who has never been loyal. I offer you that kernel of myself that I have saved, somehow —the central heart that deals not in words, traffics not with dreams and is untouched by time, by joy, by adversities. I offer you explanations of yourself, theories about yourself, authentic and surprising news of yourself. I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the hunger of my heart; I am trying to bribe you with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.
— “Two English Poems to a Woman”, Jorge Luis Borges
- 5 months ago
How to like it — Stephen Dobyns
These are the first days of fall. The wind
at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.
A man and a dog descend their front steps.
The dog says, Let’s go downtown and get crazy drunk.
Let’s tip over all the trash cans we can find.
This is how dogs deal with the prospect of change.
But in his sense of the season, the man is struck
by the oppressiveness of his past, how his memories
which were shifting and fluid have grown more solid
until it seems he can see remembered faces
caught up among the dark places in the trees.
The dog says, Let’s pick up some girls and just
rip off their clothes. Let’s dig holes everywhere.
Above his house, the man notices wisps of cloud
crossing the face of the moon. Like in a movie,
he says to himself, a movie about a person
leaving on a journey. He looks down the street
to the hills outside of town and finds the cut
where the road heads north. He thinks of driving
on that road and the dusty smell of the car
heater, which hasn’t been used since last winter.
The dog says, Let’s go down to the diner and sniff
people’s legs. Let’s stuff ourselves on burgers.
In the man’s mind, the road is empty and dark.
Pine trees press down to the edge of the shoulder,
where the eyes of animals, fixed in his headlights,
shine like small cautions against the night.
Sometimes a passing truck makes his whole car shake.
The dog says, Let’s go to sleep. Let’s lie down
by the fire and put our tails over our noses.
But the man wants to drive all night, crossing
one state line after another, and never stop
until the sun creeps into his rearview mirror.
Then he’ll pull over and rest awhile before
starting again, and at dusk he’ll crest a hill
and there, filling a valley, will be the lights
of a city entirely new to him.
But the dog says, Let’s just go back inside.
Let’s not do anything tonight. So they
walk back up the sidewalk to the front steps.
How is it possible to want so many things
and still want nothing. The man wants to sleep
and wants to hit his head again and again
against a wall. Why is it all so difficult?
But the dog says, Let’s go make a sandwich.
Let’s make the tallest sandwich anyone’s ever seen.
And that’s what they do and that’s where the man’s
wife finds him, staring into the refrigerator
as if into the place where the answers are kept-
the ones telling why you get up in the morning
and how it is possible to sleep at night,
answers to what comes next and how to like it.
- 5 months ago