You gaze bleakly from the back of the book;
your mouth the straight and bitter line
of a man who can neither nurse a grudge
nor give one up. You are a poet, which you thought
was what you wanted. We all make mistakes.
Loneliness rises from the pages like
the sour dust of old newspapers.
Immortality is a dubious achievement
if you're not sure you want to live.
I want to say: lighten up, it's only poetry
the love you have already is enough;
you're the sort of man who burns
only one bridge at a time. Take what you have.
Stop here. Compromise: philander if you must, but
lie about it like a man. The truth you serve
is no more true than a story about
how you had to work late at the office.
You only wanted to be loved. Me too: that's not
such a terrible crime. You wanted to be understood,
and that's not so terrible either, except
that you wanted to be understood on your own terms,
and that's what nobody gets. Not even poets.
Don't get me wrong. It's a beautiful book, and it taught me
Cautiously to love you.
But stop here. Stop cultivating
desolation. It grows fast enough in waste ground
all by itself.