Sweetheart

The last thing I want to write about
are words, sweet corpses of feelings,
though last night I dreamt about you,
not you, I suppose, but your foreign words
taunt on my mouth:
“Merhaba, gunaydin, askim,” I said,
to nobody.

In the coffee shop this morning,
there’s a woman here, like you.
Dark hair and dark eyes —
and so
the strange, defiant light.

I’d like to say hello to her,
good morning,
but I’m stopped by crumbs
covering me,
and old sugared coffee spilled
across the table,
sticky against skin, stuck
to its own silent words.

Trans Am

You go to bed very early,
wounded, unsure how.
Maybe shot in the abdomen,
though still can’t seem to find bullets,
or slammed by a Trans Am
on Russell Street, turning west,
no, perhaps chased down
by a deer pursued by a sound
it does not see. But,
having said that,
there are no Trans Ams anymore.
Regardless, you feel it,
under the night, under
the tree, under the weak lamp
on the street,
a shape parked
under the rotting sheets
of leaves.

Trans Am

You go to bed very early,
wounded, but unsure how.
Maybe shot in the abdomen,
though still can’t seem to find the bullets,
or slammed by a Trans Am
on Russell Street, turning west,
or no, perhaps chased down
by a deer pursued by
the weakest sound. But,
having said that,
there are no Trans Ams anymore.
Still, you feel it. Somehow,
it’s there, but not
any more.

Recollection

And, we’re not even that old.
Though in front of you
I see how you forget already.
I hear how you say, you’ll try,
then hug me. But then you lean
and hold too long and next begin
to slip until the strain
is too much for me. And, there it is,
your eyes say,
your body against mine, as if perhaps
you had strayed in your sleep,
and here I was, lucky to catch you.
But, at 52, things are different with me.
Every hour my recollection betters,
with all that time we didn’t have.
I hold you there, bright still,
ripening at my touch,
an orchard of a thousand yous.

Talk to Me, Listen

Something tells me, I should live.
For what? Every day, I feel in me
the words dwindle,
and hear the new tongue of the breath,
as it meets me in the elevator,
or at the light when it’s gone yellow,
and then red. Breathing is involuntary,
it mouths, again and again. But the heart
is not. It is the sun.
The breeze speaks for it when it is gone.
Wait, it says.

Poetry Reading at the Coffeehouse

Maybe you are here tonight, back there,
sitting behind the darkness.
That darkness resembles you, you know,
and perhaps speaking to it
resembles me, who when he’s done
reading this, will have another coffee,
take the backroads he used to get here,
forget you again, like directions
to some place we needed each other
to bring the other to. You always insisted
on the open cup, your small shoulders that rose,
inhaling its steam as if you knew
you knew you’d disappear, too.
But, you don’t, both of us so inept,
even me forgetting how to forget,
reading tonight about a woman
who wondered what I would say next
if I’d run out of words. I don’t tell her,
because this is exactly what
I’m hoping for, that nothing
would happen in that poem,
that you would disappear in it,
that I would follow.

Revision

I was going somewhere, it seemed.
My clothing folded in piles on the bed.
I was putting them away.
The sun edged the corners of the drawers.
It occurred to me,
it’s not too late to change my mind,
to forget all that’s happened,
that I’d just arrived,
that someone,
who had just stepped out for a moment,
who had been here waiting for me,
would return,
the sun edging the corners
of the drawers.

Lately

I am looking for something new.

I stare at my books. I am looking out the window.

I would like to say, Junebugs are speaking

to the stars, though that barely means

what I want it to.

Lately, I’ve been so calm, you say.

And I realize you are looking out a window

at me, looking for something old,

something the stars sang with.