SOMEDAY VIEWS FROM FLORENCE

A writer, long-haired, flimsy summer frock, flowering. Morning coffee is ready, a cube of white sugar, a clumsy spill of brown. She wears her Florentine freckles with pride. Summer has been kissing her lovely again. She greets the fat housecat. The silky beast nuzzles her ankles. Sip slow, early risers.

The writer has many lovers but she only loves one. Chianti in chipped china, drunk on a love that will last through winter. Smoky, medium-bodied love, love worth writing about, worth proclaiming from the balcony. She owns this hidden corner of Europe, climbing ivy, making love on a bed of unpublished manuscripts. Only he can know her. Her words won’t leave the third story.

I’LL FIND YOU UNDER THE WEATHER

I am sick with love.

Not of it. But with and within it.

Knotted hair, morning after.
The sour burning regret of bile.
These sticky sorry secrets we keep,
how sweetly my skin absorbs them.

I am sick with love,
our incurable disease, this shaky
syndrome of always longing.
For what? I am sick with love,
For who? You and only you.
I wish I could live forever
beneath the blanket of your breath.
I am sick with love, dear heart
of hearts, how your surge
of skin absorbs me.

A DARE

Cut the pretense. I mean, really chop it off. Sever the fist you form. Let the blood flow; see how it stains every word you write. What I mean is I want to write a poem about something real. These days I’m starved for it, all of that pulsing realness. I want to feel a poem breathe into my mouth. I crave it even in my sleep, something raw and gritty caressing my unconscious face. I want to be woken up by reality even if it means drenching my sheets in cold sweat. I’d even be thankful to die like that.

I want to write about suffering not as a metaphor, not as forced comparison or abstract expression. I want to write about suffering like the fact of the matter is that last night I fell asleep praying for snow but this morning’s clouds simply could not deliver. We woke up to dry sidewalks and heavy skies. I want to write about how snow makes me think of you, but not in some sort of romantic gesture, mostly just you, in all of your realness, those days we were stranded indoors. We woke up to endless white; I woke up to you kissing me alive again. I want to write a poem about perfect suffering. I feel like it would read something like walking with you, months later, wanting to melt the flurries on your cheeks with my own. All this and I cannot touch you. That’s how you write suffering. I wanted to touch you but I know I’d melt more than just snow.

This is me cutting the pretense. This is me choosing to melt us anyway. This is me reaching out to touch you in a way I can only do with words. This is me staining the paper. This is me flowing back to you, the realest poem I’ve ever bled.