Poem: The Poet’s Danger


I have always been of the character

That expects too much, too soon

This mercurial wit

Can change himself in an hour

So why shouldn’t you?

Aye, I know nothing of constancy

I was built on falling leaves

And ocean-clashing rocks –

Not on established things

I sit brooding by the river

To reflect on my biographer’s migraines;

How a man can chisel himself

Out of nothing

And be both a gift and a curse

To all he that meets

Just to sit beside you is electric

To see how poetry tortures your face

And how the rainbow desuetude of autumn

Can move you to fragile tears

Still, I expect too much, too soon,

Hoping that a few words of mine

Will carry you aloft

Into the swirling cataclysm

Of lover’s fears, and lover’s woes,

Ah, there she goes!

I find it almost impossible to wish for anything

Without equally wishing against it

My prayers seldom get posted

Before I seize them at the garden gate

But I have no garden gate;

Only a maelstrom of identities

That thrash, and writhe, and flail about,

Like particles in an atomic collider:

One says ‘stay’ –

The other says ‘go’ –

One says ‘to’ –

The other says ‘fro’ –

So, forgive me if I try and leap

In all directions at once

But I can only get so close to you

Before something else calls me away

And this is forever the poet’s danger:

Fearing he may have revealed too much

Too soon, when events foresaid,

Are still resounding in your head,

But there is no use fearing such things;

I’d tear open my very skeleton

If I thought it would do you any good

But please – just indulge me a little

Allow me to sing for you, one last time,

So that the guilty cries of my swan song

Will drown out the soundtrack

Of incriminating evidence

That is certain to appear

My only apology is for:

Loving too easily, too infrequently,

Too quietly, and too haphazardly –

Yet it is also for this

That I apologize the least

Ah, a man can wean himself from all things

After writing poetry such as this

But still I stare into your stained-glass eyes

And long for another kiss



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