And sometimes it is
that we lose,
it is just lips. When I was
a child, I would ask my mother
to tuck me
in, wrap me tight in blankets,
make me into a burrito.
Sometimes I would wait in bed,
pressing my body stiff, like a board,
mind like a feather, silly— setting the scene
to be seen.
So I could be wrapped.
So I could be kissed.
I miss most,
is being made again.
Copyright © 2015 by David Tomas Martinez . Used with permission of the author.
He was a boy when first we met; His eyes were mixed of dew and fire, And on his candid brow was set The sweetness of a chaste desire: But in his veins the pulses beat Of passion, waiting for its wing, As ardent veins of summer heat Throb through the innocence of spring. As manhood came, his stature grew, And fiercer burned his restless eyes, Until I trembled, as he drew From wedded hearts their young disguise. Like wind-fed flame his ardor rose, And brought, like flame, a stormy rain: In tumult, sweeter than repose, He tossed the souls of joy and pain. So many years of absence change! I knew him not when he returned: His step was slow, his brow was strange, His quiet eye no longer burned. When at my heart I heard his knock, No voice within his right confessed: I could not venture to unlock Its chambers to an alien guest. Then, at the threshold, spent and worn With fruitless travel, down he lay: And I beheld the gleams of morn On his reviving beauty play. I knelt, and kissed his holy lips, I washed his feet with pious care; And from my life the long eclipse Drew off; and left his sunshine there. He burns no more with youthful fire; He melts no more in foolish tears; Serene and sweet, his eyes inspire The steady faith of balanced years. His folded wings no longer thrill, But in some peaceful flight of prayer: He nestles in my heart so still, I scarcely feel his presence there. O Love, that stern probation o’er, Thy calmer blessing is secure! Thy beauteous feet shall stray no more, Thy peace and patience shall endure! The lightest wind deflowers the rose, The rainbow with the sun departs, But thou art centred in repose, And rooted in my heart of hearts!
This poem is in the public domain.
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I
walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-
conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the
neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping
at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in
the tomatoes!—and you, García Lorca, what were you doing
down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking
among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork
chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following
you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary
fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and
never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in a hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add
shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue
automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what
America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you
got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear
on the black waters of Lethe?
From Collected Poems 1947–1980 by Allen Ginsberg, published by Harper & Row. Copyright © 1984 by Allen Ginsberg. Used with permission.