Immodest Heart (What you couldn’t see)

It is not me.

My mind reasons, same as yours

it counts the proper hours

and begs with my bones

for rest

Long day behind, long day ahead

 

But temptation, perhaps chided

by unjust disquiet

and derided

by jagged hours

may find it fitting

to hoist blame on my shoulders

wearied, same as yours

 

But please, my darling, resist

It is not me.

 

It is my immodest heart.

She.

A ruthless, raving lunatic.

Not me.

 

She wakes me from a settled sleep

shining her lamplight

to pick the pockets of my eyes

in dogged search of you

 

She.

Not me.

 

Who pulls me, limp

from back to side

and whispers in my ear

words that cut through reason’s brush

‘til she can tangle her breath in your hair

 

Cast your blame on her

And when your bleary finger

seeks to deliver its censure

don’t look my way

Turn your gaze inward to find her

dancing with your colluding heart

as they laugh

in the fog of our lurch

My Comfort

This is my favorite poem to read when I’m going through a rough time. It is a translation by Robert Lowell of the Italian poet Eugenio Montale. It is lost to many because it is not online, but it is beautifully written and perfectly translated. I hope it finds an audience through me.

Its narrator is likely deceased and certainly away, but that hardly matters. This is about the ceaseless reach and protection provided by unconditional love, in even the worst of circumstances.

Keep my spectrum in your pocket-mirror. It’s going to be OK.

Words to carry you, when you need them.

Little Testament 

This thing the night flashes

like marshlight through the skull of my mind,

this pearl necklace snail’s trail,

this ground glass, diamond-dust sparkle—

it is not the lamp in any church or office,

tended by some adolescent altar boy,

Communist or papist,

in black or red.

I have only this rainbow

to leave you, this testimonial

of a faith, often invaded,

of a hope that burned more slowly

than a green log on the fire.

Keep its spectrum in your pocket-mirror,

when every lamp goes out,

when hell’s orchestra trembles,

and the torch-bearing Lucifer

lands on some blowsprit

in the Thames, Hudson or Seine—

rotating his hard coal wings,

half lopped by fatigue, to tell you, “Now.”

It’s hardly an heirloom or charm

that can tranquillize monsoons

with a transparent spider web of contemplation—

but an autobiography can only survive in ashes,

persistence is extinction.

It is certainly a sign: whoever has seen it,

will always return to you.

Each knows his own: his pride

was not an escape, his humility

was not a meanness, his obscure

earth-bound flash

was not the fizzle of a wet match.

Forever.

You could never destroy this word, my heart

How could you, when you created it for me?

You wrote it out in stars across the black expanse,

when time was born alongside us,

kissed my hands and said:

“I will lose you, but not this. I will find you, because of this.”

I have been swinging from its branches ever since

I have been swinging from its branches ever since

First.

You deserve words that run

bright and hot

across a million, fertile oceans

I ask you now

plead, forgiveness

I am wretched, wrecked

stilted and stunted

 

I have no song for you

but please, my love, remember

you are my song

and I carry you

in all your complexity and beauty

inside my heart, eternal

 

You always know where to find me

beside you

in that place we built from our chaos, faded

with our love, timeless

 

If my echo did not reach you

though I know it did, it does, it will

Here are my whispers that stretch to forever

I love you, always

I miss you, always

I’m proud of you, always

I’m right here

always

 

Now I ask you, again

plead, again

forgiveness

I am stunted

stilted

wrecked

wretched

fertile

million

hot

bright

run that words deserve you

 

 

 

You are the death of my words

these empty shells

drained of all color

pooled at my feet

And I am left to do nothing

but collapse,

encircle you,

and lean on your majesty.

Can my abandoned mind

my lame tongue

birth a new language

that befits you, my eternity?

They must

for you are the birth of me

and the rebirth of everything inside

that was ever worth saving at all.