Saturday, August 06, 2005

"To Line On Our Forty-Somethingth Birthday"

To Line on Our Forty-Somethingth Birthday

Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise.
– Dogen

Everything is water if you look long enough.
– Robert Creeley

Because the earth has dissolved into the memory
of our bracketing coasts and the black inquisitive soul
at the end of a seagull’s beak probes past summer,
because yesterday morning rose from a wrinkled journal
like the crooked finger of smoke before the fan and your
hair turns another shade of ash one night at a time,
because the rain-soaked streets cast out their fat
threads of red worms like the bad taste in the mouth
after kissing another willing loser and shutting the door
one final time, because the sweet silly saliva spits out
when we talk past the wolf’s hour, because we are
approaching that silence, when the crack between
worlds widens like the hips of a beautiful woman
and I dream of old lovers leaving through the portal
of the sea, because there are birds, because there is
this flame that keeps lighting your cigarette and
an old record still spins in my vulva when the rain
strums off the skin of an aging poet, because this time
the pages scatter like leaves on my floor and dragonflies
mate on wing, and everything lets go like the dandruff
of our days, because you will crumple your Times
differently today and we will note but not follow
the scope of our separate horrors, because regret
is never anything but and sorrow is an archaic term
best left to the diddlers and dawdlers that line
the bus stops and subways, because we have nowhere
to go this day, and our mother’s special pain radiates
from the grave, because the season is preternatural
and no one but you knows what this means, because
maybe someone will stroke the dappled fur of your
belly, absently, like placating the kneading cat at
the crotch, because I will not, because all of my
clocks have stopped at varying times and I allow it,
because your watch gets less notice than the piano
riff of a dead jazz junkie, because you are not
a junkie, because I have this wood under silk,
because you have that ball of fluff under wood,
because our poetry is not as idiomorphic as the skin
of Hiroshima bomb victims, because we are survivors
and it's never not inane to say so, because you say it,
because you just note the weight of a stranger's breast
impassively like yesterday's game scores, because I
only imagine you do, because passion is denied
in name only, and the bastard child, our hearts,
stays nameless at the tip of a tongue, because maybe
there are tongues and you'd laugh at my insistence
upon that coming-of-age ritual I crave, because you crave
a certain saxophone of the flushed, because we are flush
with it, flushed from the grave like these old newsreels
of radiation damage that ruin our celebrations, because
we are celebrating, because the best party's under the gleaming
fingertip, because the echo of our names stays locked in the tunnel
at rush hour, because you no longer lean on the horn,
because I am no longer lean but I can still delight
at the approach of my weight equal to my IQ, because
I admit to you this vanity, because you are restless as
the silver-backed alpha pacing the den and your wolfen
eyes have never met mine,with our shadowed faces
sheened like the thoroughfares that keep me indoors
and writing this, because I will never be older
than your age, because I admit mine, because I admit,
I admit that the luster of turbines no longer holds
the thrall of space or cybernetic spittle through digits
of light and absence; because you are absent and my
fingers ache but are pretty, I admit the call of lint,
the crawling through scuffed shoes while searching
for the dime that knows your home number, because
you are ten numbers away from a voice, because mine
cuts across the memory-fields in a search-and-destroy
mission unique to my sex, because our lives of language
and time can never find the rhyme for fuck, I admit it;
I admit that the day is rusty and slack; I admit that
the age is something other than nude dancers on a stage
or the flailing air-guitars of the disengaged; I admit
that lonely is not a word that occurs to me often, but now,
in the rustling waves of stop and go traffic, I make out
your face from the passing, deforested, paves and I
wish you a day, innocuous and useful as pine or the blade;
because I’m hoping you’re getting it, and you smile, and I wish

one more line.


(forthcoming in DRIVE: The First Quartet - Book V, Hard Drive)


Blogger oscar said...

happy birthday

love the poems and the blog

take care,

6/8/05 16:38  
Blogger Emily Lloyd said...

Lorna, Aug 6th? Mine, too. Hope yours was a goodie.

7/8/05 08:24  
Blogger Artichoke Heart said...

Happy Birthday (Belatedly)

I've been lurking and enjoying, but wanted to delurk and send you best wishes.

7/8/05 09:16  
Blogger Michael said...

Beautiful, my 40th year as well...

7/8/05 18:51  
Blogger poetzie said...

Happy Belated. A beautiful poem.

9/8/05 15:27  

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