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The Prologue

 

 

a
mouth
sewn
shut
can
still
make
a
sound

 


before you love another
look in a mirror
until you don’t exist
then smash the mirror
drink from your bleeding fist

 

 

In the circle
I’ve pressed my lips.

 

 

If you press yours there too
we will have kissed.

 

 

 

words are birds

 

 

eye is sky

 

 

I write the word: I am behind it.
You read the word: you are before it.
We make a oneness, a reflection
two separate moments come together
but the word is still between us.
Someday there’ll be no words
someday we’ll simply be
like flutes playing each other.
Strike a match, light up this page
watch them go black and vanish into flame.

 

 

for John Keats

I think that I’m a candle
whose flame stays round the wick
whether set in one place or carried
never wavering an inch
from where I’ve always been.
I hold out my hand like you did.
When I’m happy and look at it
it’s not the same I see sadly
desiring or when I’m tired
it changes with my feelings
which usually I don’t notice
like light and shadow pass over the day
revealing as the morning sun
obscured by clouds or tears.
When you vanished did all vanish?
With a change of heart I change the world.

 

 

at the grave of Walt Whitman

I was in Philadelphia and
crossed the bridge to Camden.
“I’m satisfied,” I said.
“There’s grass growing here
and I no longer care
what anyone might think of me
or what the future holds
or when and if comes money.
I heard you speak, you are not dead
nor have I lived more than I lived
when you first spoke.
I kneel down in the grass,
slide out some blades to chew.
I’ve read you, know your caress
and see out in the void your hand still is
trembling for my touch.

Walt Whitman, you’re the spit
green along my lips.
Help me to trust in it.”

 

 

Dear Words

Reverberating on my ear drum’s skin
you come in
like a finger on a guitar string.
Sound sends me quivering.
Some places hands can’t go.
You touch the soul.
But I’m not saying hands can’t talk
or what is meant can’t be felt.
Once I saw a deaf boy put
his hand on a stereo speaker
and snap his fingers to the beat
emanating on his fingertips.

 

 

Wind isn’t skin
Wind touches skin
Wind

 

 

an invitation to approach me across the impossible

Fish will make fish, bread is bread
Hunger’s the same mouth, craw and pain
gathered in so many on the hillside.

Then come but not fearing
with white knuckles clinging
to a wooden heaving boat.
Those weren’t Galilee’s
you saw me still
but the wild waves in my soul.

Empty buoys you like the land.
Leave all behind is all that matters.
Here, I’ll hold out my hand.

 

 

—1973

One Comment

  1. Posted 5 May ’21 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Your Walt Whitman, especially, beautifully rendered. Thank you, Don,
    Donna

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