I’m asked how I’ve spent all these years
with only one woman and wasn’t I ever
lonely for a switch. No, you’ve had one
you’ve had them all: all the crushes
and hushes, bugs and kisses, dinners
of ruin and dirty dishes, cracked glass
ambulance ride amusements, hospital
breathless nights of stares, leaking
bouncing breasts, slurpy sinking ships,
burps duns and dues, and whose is this.
One simply can’t abandon only one
for another, but if you can’t love but
one, or if you can’t stay put, doomed
to love them all, love them one by one,
one in Kansas City, one in Timbuktu,
one on television, another in a sleek
magazine, she will all come to hate
you and rue the day she met you,
handsome and funny and smart
as the whip hidden in your suitcase.
And this one, she walks on waters,
performs a single miracle. In touch
with the animals, she know altruistic
days and short selfish nights, prefers
skin to skin oils to rubber protection.
She wraps her legs around the void
universe and pulls it in to her body,
her coif dew, it would have been cold
and premature to leave her any day
now for the others, all the others.
And are you so naive to think, I’m
asked again, your sweet queen lass
hasn’t known others, succumbed
to seductions of perfume and lotion,
raw muscle of the still wet oyster
that makes you gag for the thrill,
to swallow it whole in cars in bars,
the agoraphilia of getting caught
her perfect beauty ever the target
of all that glitters and is not gold.
Yes, the camouflage of clothes,
the wearinesses of one’s wrongs,
one’s imperfections, peccadilloes,
the fantasy of a superman, pull
of the moon on full ocean swells,
and the sorrows of sin desired
again and again. Love is letting
her loose to do what she wants,
if we ever know what we want
ever beyond reach and school.
We must be aware, awake awed
to the far consequences of our
actions and inactions, of fear
of loss and aversion of boredom,
fear of sleeping alone in a buffet
bed, or of having to push and say
move over, pulling the covers back
to our side of the bed, fear of her
ironic mistrust. Beauty can sleep,
too, and she never annoys you?
She does not sleep, her baggy
nightgown a novel of despair.
She wears no jewelry, no wed
band, puts on no false airs,
dislikes the smell and feel
of fresh fish, is stubborn
and alone, always alone.
In her face shows the fear
and courage all have known:
hate of evil, love of good.
There can be any woman
for every child and any teat
will do in a pinch you can’t
draw milk or make honey
on your own, while she bears
the scars of wars and tomcat
attacks, mourning regrets
of getting into his car. Poet
child, you never asked why
beauty, why you and not him.
She doesn’t hear the sounds
I hear, sing the same songs.
In any case we are past age
of tit for tat, give and take,
love or hate, blind dates,
petty jealousies and jolly
rides in convertible jeeps,
elusive memories, name
calling. We are reduced
to prayer and solitude.
I didn’t start out to live this way.
It happened with no master plan,
no 5 year plan one after another,
and it’s no big deal, lots of people
live it, in fact it’s what people do,
humans monogamous creatures,
mates for life, and when they don’t,
that’s no big deal either, both ways
involve untold sorrows and pain,
abuse and misuse, loyalty living
in trees, and to say some other
way would be better misses
the point of no point, no return.
We live on the edge, always
turning, always falling, failing
in love. Love is the overview
that makes astronauts cry
and birds fly, a view of only one
Earth, one Sun, one Moon, one
woman, one man, one love.