Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Essay on Human Understanding: Chapters 1 through 4

Chapter 1

Among the imperfections of my life are
These two, equal and opposite. One: the longing for one
Stillness, to do the same thing with the same attention
Every day until rightness buds along every twig of my fingers
And I sway in the soft wind of gray mornings;
And two: the yearning of quick animal desire, biting
Your shoulder, pulling your hips to mine,
spattering the world with what smells like me,
And you, and me, and you, and nothing else forever.

Chapter 2

Catch the quick impulse up, the rapid swallow, the eye blink.
What am I not saying? What am I saying that isn't, quite, true?
Turn and turn again, like Chaucer's fish, wallowing in sauce:
There are the things you don't say because you are holding back
And the things you don't say because you don't know them yet
And the things you don't say because they can't be said.

Chapter 3

I can live this way. I can. Day by day I inquire at the desk:
Am I overdrawn? Are there fines I have to pay?
And the affable clerk, inscrutably amused, waves me away.
"No, no. Enjoy yourself! We'll bill you when it's time." As if
That will make me less nervous. When will it be time?

Chapter 4

But your hands, and mine, smell of almonds, almost of coffee:
They twine in each other, fingers tangled, questing blindly,
Slippery with oil. The brightness of your eyes
Burns a pathway through the air, and I follow you,
Like the servant of Good King Wenceslaus.
None of my questions have been answered.
(See Chapter 1.) But I don't think we are here
To answer questions. We are here to work and to love.

No comments: