The Old
What is left, to distinguish it
from the whole: a flying buttress
in weeds next to a crumbled wall;

yet there’s so much more, not seeing
it as product but something else,
a wave, a bird on wing from left

to right across the cloud, and if
you held on — to make it still —
it wouldn’t be, so there.
With each success there is another:

when everything is going smoothly,
when it seems the body will lift
into the air, take wings, and fly,
then surely something will happen
to make it fall, take seed, and grow.
A specialist in the lore of the Soviet
and in the cookery of New Orleans, his
father a cotton merchant, his mother a
silent matriarch from whom he rebelled
when he went off to school to study
debacles, a fascination that combined
with his brusqueness gave an intensity
that allowed no flaw, and he knew women
of such beauty it was a wonder he was alone,
but he was, and it was rumored his dream
of intelligence had driven him to a city
filled with music on mild breezy days,
which along with secrets is inhabited by clouds.

They do that
because they’re bored,
you said, in
reference to, and
in your eyes I
saw swimming
a desire to leave
not so much my
presence, which was
only a bit, but also
the house, the town
where nothing much
happens (does it
anywhere) the East,
the country, and even
the planet, which
you said a lot of
people are thinking
is a mistake, what
with the end in
view and a lot of
them already having
left their bodies,
the way they live.


I didn’t want
to say I felt
brought down
by your chatter:
it was Sunday
morning and the
clouds made it
seem infinite, that
it would only end
with Monday and
in a day or two
a sunrise, which
is to say change.


The sunrise, knowing now
as I do that love only exists
in reverie, the imagination
as all there is; but even that
I must do alone, since to be
around you I realize the finality
of your body, how it’s growing
older and the only thing that
makes me love it is the sun
and projecting you into it, and
loving that.