Saturday, December 8, 2007
The Nights Escape Without Us
When I started this blog, it was really aimed at telling my life story a bit at a time, because I knew I was too lazy to write some sort of autobiography. I've witnessed a lot of major scenes and moments in almost 65 years, still have more tales to tell, and hope to see and hear lots more wonders before me and this thing are done!
One aspect that readers (there must be one or two of you) will have noticed is my shameless posting of the best poems I've written over the years, many of them published individually but no book ever compiled--Ed's Greatest Non-Hits, I guess. Today I present another grouping, several short, sort-of love poems joined together in one longer, multi-part suite I call...
Language of Night
I. Defining Evening
Evening comes down, and in, conjugating day
and night, separating the halves, the light left over
from the dark arriving, the planet turning away
as twilight--dual light--evens out, like lovers
meeting each other half-way, touching lips, then limbs,
clasping their opposites close in purples of descent,
shedding the light clothes of summer, easing them-
selves down, wondering where the close of day went
but not caring much now they are wearing night,
the black of the easy deaths of sex and sleep
put on as hours are, the blank in day’s despite
impossible to fill before morning keeps
its appointment in tomorrow as today,
and evening becomes a memory on the way.
Riffs of fire
split the molten skies,
pulsing through layers,
running the changes,
charring to black.
Night’s new arrangements
cool and slowly
harden. Streetlights come on
to anyone. Now
the moon blows sax,
a Pres-redential solo
over the grays: cat
can play. Lady whispers
her dream chorus—
sixteen bars of gone
reds, bone whites,
notes. We are jazzed,
every one of us.
III. The Sending
Rise up, elusive woman,
on the limbs of my absence;
walk through the city
clothed in the shadow of my longing;
sleep each night
adrift on the dark waters of my desire…
while I lie here,
a thousand likelihoods from you,
with the scent of your shoulders
dreaming in my veins
and the pale dust of your nipples
weighing my eyelids down,
teasing my lips into speech.
IV. A Matter of Silence
The silences of the night go deep,
and deeper still, extending
to become ecstasies of the ordinary:
a whispering high up in the sycamore,
the bone-marrow buzz in the wiring,
the sibilant hairs along your mound
lifting one by one as they dry.
There are fricatives and plosives
pent-up in these minutes that I
dare not release before dawn;
the world’s geologic history retold
night after night in a dusty glass;
randy molecules of carbon and oxygen
jostling each other for space
with each whirled breath you take.
I believe in walls, in words,
in momentary lapses of memory.
Otherwise, how could I never
break down the barriers between us,
open myself to your nightly absence,
hold your heart in my deepening silence?
This is my plan so far:
I will lie here awake
for two days and most of three nights,
and then live again in your dreams.
V. In Sleep
We turn and circulate
through the regions of the dark.
All the faces we always wear
rise up as reclaimants,
surrounding this fragrant space
rich with wishes. Something tender
whispers in your breath: Open now.
Put on tomorrow, that you
waken clothed in plenitude.
Skin to skin, calf to hand,
we congregate after separation,
we wade through dawnlight
to the other side of language.
You bend me, I sleep you,
the nights escape without us.
VI. The Bends
She had gone deep,
fallen to grace
currents of sleep,
to drift in place
and dream among
fronds of desire,
in the blood’s fire,
of ocean night.
she bubbles light…
rises through floor
and silver sheets
to sprawl ashore,
her spaced heartbeats
the dark swim ends,
as sleep unbends.