I am sick to death of sadness.
I wish I could tear this world from out my chest
and then maybe you
I could not travel far enough
the moon shows me her dark side
It doesn’t matter that you took my hand
and laid your head
I don’t remember
I can’t complete
August has not been kind to me, Mr. Purcell.
I remember our late night drives, arguing
about the pronunciation of trochee, and who
better expressed the pain of life, Sylvia or Anne –
I still say Anne did it to save face, imitator –
the gypsy asleep in the back.
Under the bridges, on the windy skinny docks,
shouting our poems for no one to hear,
we ripped out our hearts to see if they still beat.
Those were our young days, but I had already lost my youth.
Tell me, Mr. Purcell, with eyes wiser than my soul,
how is it that you feel all we cannot express
and why has it taken me so long to see.
precariously i move-
like songs that cut off mid
line, like orators who whisper
for emphasis – between the raindrops,
between the headlights, between
the lips of your next word.
i would shout
if i were to be heard.
i would lose
if i could find you.
i would wait
if only you asked me to.
your poems are sad, she said.
i am sad.
it’s like you’ve poured your sadness into them, she said.
i have, i answered.
they are beautiful, she said.
they are sad.
i love your sad poems, she said.
they are beautiful and sad.
if you were happy, you would write happy poems, she said.
if i were happy, i would not write beautiful poems.
i found on the ripened pear,
emblems of youth
you stood before me
arms toward the sky
your head flung back
and i laughed.
you asked me
if i wanted to go
you were wrong.
books will ruin you too.