41. He walks along the silent streets of lateIn late night's hour, his ears composing songOf something half in the air, like fishing baitTo bid his quiet mind to leave its lawn.The dew there reeks of ecstasy and laceStained by the wet of love—those tired, old tears—And all the thoroughfare of vaporous yearsRing like a shade disbanded in the furnace,A hissing mist, those fuming years, time's yearnThe condensation made there when the skyRises, the compensation laced upon the lawn,The last hushed sounds of languor low and nigh.Those streets and dark can only save his mindSo long the dawn and love will stay behind.
42. It's time you woke, you rebel spirit ofThe evening hour. What thoughts have you brought to visitMe today? What broken whiff of love?What invitation to reflect uponPast faults, passed in the caught breathOf youth as folly? I knew my fawn and fawningWould end—I knew my heart would end, my deathThe ceremony of all insurrection.It's nearly time to sleep, thou brutal chainOf fear disguised as love about my mind,About my mind, about my mind. The sameCan be said of thee, and thoughts devout to your kind.Some time I'll cross with You and ask "What is it?"And in that hour taste my long reflection.
43.I know I don't know you, but when I close my eyesI tear to see you, your face, your sad, pale face.I didn't mean to flirt with you—I was shy,And those times, those few times, I asked you to graceMy meal, my table, it was because I was tooAfraid to speak much to you when we were in class.Please forgive me for writing to you now;I think about you all the time and passMy lonely sorrow and regret for love.I wish I had been brave enough to speakTo you more than just those times I attempted to bluffBravado, nonchalance. I think of all the weeksI put off speaking to you, past passed by,And never said, "I love you," nor will, and die.
44.It must be the caffeine keeping me awakeBecause I swore I'd never think of you,Never adore the paleness of your face,Because those thoughts entail I love you, too.My muse must be the woman on my mindAnd motivation for the exerciseOf those wearied powers brightest to the blind,Since seeing you enslaves all truth to eyes.The lateness weighs at me and I'm too tiredTo think about a broken-pavement pastEndowed with all the rubble I'd admired.To be awake and dreaming long for sleep:Is this to love a love the past can't keep?
45.How dost thy lonesome soul now fare, alitWith worried wonder at the passing time?Have you found love these past few months a bitLike lists made lists of love before, behind?Tell me how her hair swirls, ghost againstThe black-made canvas of an agèd sky,Or of the figure to her voice, her breasts,Sweet lilting fall, like candles fall, to th' eye.Or is it something else, some other prizeTo capture, wading through the waxy poolsOf men admiring all that I despiseTo take my comfort quickly like a fool?Tell me this, or any account of gains,That I may tally what of me remains.
46.The break of day conspires breathy dusk?Like eyelids falling, softly lit below?A languid candle’s flame which flays the husk?Of sky from sky, the black of night to show.?Time time and time again relives dark gain?Of endings till that star-grained sky relieves?The wearied Atlas, loosed of his spirit’s pain,?While Phoebe forever waits dead Dawn’s receive.?What brooding pall in finite plaits to make?Our chains and rail us to the pen of hours,?While rail us with the pen of ours our sake?So long so long we pick o’ th’ sky such flowers??How are you this fine, day, so easy to shatter,?And what of the pieces, precious time, thereafter?
To S___'s ScarfA poppy soaked with water, bloody silkStreaming like solid wind from its folds.Wet, almost rubber, buoyant with the clickOf water dripping from the paper bowl.A warble of greens and grays and blues and goldIn sudden streaks to slap the rising crests.You put the flower back; you're leaning overThe lake so careful—two fingers—I try not to look.So I look at the trees, their hands full of shadows and leaves,And I look at the sky with its pillow stuffing falling Out and spreading thick like a virgin tea.My hands are cold from the wind—you get a call,No, a text, that consumes your face with a glowThat through the breath of the lake looks like a skull.
48.What has the sonnet ever done for meWhich speaking to you wouldn't have done better?You're beautiful when you dress a certain wayAnd wear red lipstick charred like coal in fire,Or when the sallowed sun caves in your cheeks,And hides there with the lie of blush and oil.When I think of you lain my nights when solace seekI find but thoughts of hair and rhythms toilTowards that wreck of wasted words you'll neverSee, or here kiss th' cloth of pillowcase I've made out to be your cold and cotton face,Heated by the tired breath best used to groanThe loss of things I've not yet lost, nor own.What has the sonnet, ever-done for me,Which better done you wouldn't have to speak?
49.I hope it doesn't snow today, the skyA murky river of clouds impressed on blueUnmoving in the grayness of the wind.Those loops of fleshy color, water-huedBetray the habit harbored in the veilThat nothing falls save that which rises first.The flight of dew, the cold of noon prevailed,That little bulbs grow stiff and trembling burst.What travel takes the sweat of morning's browTo find how housed the corpse of river's boothAnd angeled drizzle spirit in the sowAnd stitch of the high-banked vault of heaven's ruth.The coy, cold wind imposed the chided childForetells the toll of winter's sordid while.
50.When in your turns in turn you turn to findThe tattered pattern of the pattered courseOf coursing time a river of the kindThat kind to start starts startling in the forceOf feeling weighed one way like reason, wait,And in the course of wading through still mindStill mind the grass now paved of dated dateLike date with seeds of date and bitter rind.A round around the finger's never coldBut when its ghosted gold of half-dead goalWhose grave the dying mines to gravely tollWhat's mine, what's yours, what's taken, what you stole.Embrace against the current current, braceAgain lest later lost all love erased!
Dear Poet Keats
Dear Poet Keats, dear John, it was not fair
The way the world was, to you, your family.
Whenever I see two words together, there
I hear your trace, the loving pulse and breeze
Of vowel to vowel and shadow's leafy elope,
That broaches well as dark elide dull fear.
Your verse were ever perfect, wild with hope
And hope's sad huntress, incensed to brimful tear;
Melancholy, pale to blinding and cold
To kiss, her rueful lips alive with the blood
Of black ablution, midnight-clear and bold
Accoutered of mortal time, fresh youth, young brood.
(This one doesn't have a final couplet)
It'll happen you know. Eventually. Just ignore that
I'm going to die, you're going to die, we're all
Gonna need to figure out this life thing before
We die. Let's go look at things that aren't alive
But just living, like plants and a lake and some grass on a hill,
And pretend that because it's bright out we're somehow more
Alive, attuned to nature, more properly
Appreciating the time we have that, lord
Knows seems like forever, but that doesn't matter since
It's all gonna end and there's gonna be that time
At the end when you're lying there, scared as shit
Because you know at that point that it's gonna end finally,
And what are you supposed to do then?
How are you supposed to prepare for that?
The black sheen of leather, sleek and taut
Upon small feet, kicking, kicking the air
In gentle boredom. Ah, the rush and rot
Of love, that flit of the hearty thought, that there
A future breeds and growing feeds upon
Beat time, belated time, abated time.
But that you sit beside me, cross-legged fawn,
Is but the spray of chance, the fuming brine
Of beauty. But, what beauty? Black-lined eyes,
Black lines of hair, black, cold, soft, unfelt clothes,
Cruelty of the felt undone, denied?
(This one's also missing a final couplet)
My dear love C___, so far away in dist
And memory, and only growing farther,
Please by the power of spirit's longing list
To the sad rhymes and iambs of fretful bother,
Restless bother let not mine you you mine
To mind do you will my sad prose to
You mine to my mind, do you mind, but would you mind,
Restless bother, let it not bother you,
My sad prose, repeated, blurred, translated, unheard
Again, a gain unheard though I unherred.
Why keep collecting shouts, the soft scars hard
To find, though kingdom be the prize, the hurt?
C___, a thousand C___s more I'll call till all
The jade turn gray and with the silence fall.
A bleak ablution, slight as mist composed,
That ghost of time's desire moored at bay,
At bay assured of sense, that mirthless host,
Now washes over city-streets to flay
The tired genius, gagging spittled lore
At the hornpiece of a bronze and bloated age.
A light breathes fear across the molted shore,
See here the water writ and nothing waged,
The coffee mug's ceramic stain and stage,
That ring which, wrought of night never allayed,
See now its mouth conspire Brutus' rage
To fall to gruesome conscience, glory's prey.
Sweet Sinew sewed by sleight of hand now sings
Of halcyon days and doings love here brings.
It hurts. Language; she's gone now, gone forever,
Gone just like she for whom I loved in middle school
And disavowed for another seven years later.
Well, she's gone, too. And with her went the me
In me, always wanting beauty. But beauty's,
Goddam it, beauty's gone, too, gone, gone, fucking
Gone, and god if I'm going to rhyme anymore,
That past erebeic like the fucking iridescent wind,
Pristine and dazzling in its irradiant inscrutability
Like a fresh-pumped cunt, and hell if I'm
Gonna line my words up like those little cherry
Tomatoes for you to take in your fingers and taste,
And all the juice comes out and nothing left
But a body, empty, hurt, and torn, of love bereft.
On the high tides of the morning are people sorted;
Loud swells of red, green, gold proud shout against
The wind, which even stirs at chills, living whorls
In chortle, bowered by the sea-blown banner. Prince
Long rallies volleys forth, flying like sand
Made fog in the brittle atmosphere of battle.
"Cast off," comes the sweet, anxious call; to band
The muddled droplets snap, of hush the rattle,
Of grain the fell wave. Let it not be that our quiet
Spirits rein the mettle of our intent,
Nor the fresh dawn expose our hidden fright,
That the bleak ecstasies of war be never spent;
For all's to be's to be: fate plays no part
But to be the standard waving in the harbor.
I once thought I loved a girl I didn't know,
And everything about her was beautiful,
And my art was beautiful, too, but oh,
My sadness to see her! And yet I longed to see her.
Then she was replaced by another, a prettier girl,
To make the past one seem in all ways worse.
This new love broke itself, breaking the first,
And my past went to war with passion with paltry course.
Now a milder girl, less pretty than those two,
Has elected my attention with hers; that vote
Which once would not have been considered new
Gives voice to live desire's unchanged rote:
Love, thou fool who dwell'st of the mind's fair shade!
Settle; to know is to know beauty's longing dead.
I feel out of myself. Fuck love, fuck it all,
Dark parted hair blinking in the half-dimmed lamp
My bed beside, that luckless sentinel
Who must needs watch mine exploits inspire the dawn.
Come pray by the brick road which leads to the steeple
Fog-edged to infinite thickness to tap the moon;
She's waiting for me inside, and here I am bleeding
Beside myself, with the pain close literal longing.
Sure up the steps clicks the honey pick
To renew the old assiduous debt to pleasure.
Look not to the inner image; rather fix
Thine vision to the gentler alchemy of measure
To measure, breath to the basin of the soul
Which, pray, this time to me you can recall.