I’ll take any adversary against this August heat.
That year, you were the connoisseur of the water,
The summer we swam
As if our reverences were in each stroke
And meant to take us to the final niche
At the end of the pool. You turned to me once and said,
“I’ll never drown again for love.”
As we got out of the water
Your bathing suit dripped a parable,
And I was reminded of the slums in which
I’d grown up, the maximum death that was there,
Like an oxide to rust souls,
An antipathy among all things human
Which had rubbed out my childhood of joy.
And if the boorishness of my self approaches
Again those times, either that chlorine arcana,
Or the dregs of the shanty hovel,
I shall dismiss their natural dialectics,
And move on through this life, knowing
That my future shall be one I can apportion
To better things. That will be the dandy dance,
The chromatic move through cathode lights,
I have faltered again
In the brine of what I thought once
Was very shallow water.
Any kind of surprise comes with sinking.
So you mustn’t look to me
As being one of the strongest lifeguards
On the beach. I’m not so sure
That I even know how to swim anymore.
We’ll walk the dunes together, you and I,
And think then of swimming among the stars,
And how the moon shall be the buoy
For our sight.
Or you can go for a swim in these, my tears,
And I for a swim in yours,
And we’ll see which tides are the strongest,
Where they carry us, and to what islands may exist
Along the way, in our simple strokes across the coral.
The fact is
That we are of one mind,
And that’s ocean enough for any princely ship,
For any heavily burdened cargo,
Or for any slow or barely moving,
Hand-made ragged raft.
I knew a man who was disgusted for
Almost all of his life. Should a leaf fall down:
When someone would sneeze, or cough, or sniff:
A bird could build the finest nest
In a nearby maple tree: Disgusting!
Such a man would take the wine glass
That was filled with hope,
And turn it into a tin can
That was filled with despair. Such sadness
In his eyes —
It was where the “collected” part of us lives
And breathes all that is of human sorrow; where
The dread behind our lids is a curtain descending
All of the way to the death-knell.
And that was what was his music:
Where he threw out all the harmonies,
And the sweetest cadences, the peaking paraphrases,
And even the final resolution. It was hard for him
To start his life, on any day,
To know it through mid-course, all of the way
To the end, at sunset, which carried no codas –
Those tags that must be built with mirth,
With fondness for life in general,
For the true sense of satisfaction, which then
Should lead us all to pleasant, and memorable dreams.