Love: 24/6/00

Tonight I'll write the saddest lines
And words will spill:
Raindrops on a hot night
Snowflurries in the tropics!
Inkspots on a white sheet

The new Rimbaud has fallen into my bed
He has come with a wad of poems stuffed in his bag
I have to release these poems, give them words
It always falls to my lot to do dirty work
And Verlaine's beard must've been as scruffy as mine!

He touches me: A lover is always touched of a first
No static lightning plays tonight
We've been waiting a summer and a year
The koel calls exhausted from a farther branch

He comes to me with the guilt of the Fathers
An imported guilt / And he knows its ebb and flow
Just now we're in an adagio of islands: legs, limbs, breasts
Eyes are shut / We see with our hands and feet
We're children kicking spray in shallow water

Fire, air and earth conspire
To give us our simple pleasure
I'm his teacher: I gave him tongue
And now he tongues me

I gave him eyes and now he sees my eyes
His is a hardy race that knows soft bliss
Mountains rise where there was once only sea
And a fish-fossil is suddenly stranded on some Everest!

Poetry's passion carries all before it:
If I ever forget thee may my right hand forget its cunning
O my ruined Jerusalem! Jesus enters, the spirit / His donkey, the body
Semen sweat saliva blood: That stain spot dry stink
This, our ink / This parchment, our body

And now again we are in the valleys
The shallows, the troughs
He hides inside a wave-curve for safety
He comes up for air and dolphin-dives again
Lie down in darkness and release snow-feathers
With the acrid feel of acid

It is honey and pollen and high summer
My exhausted youth laments his lost year
A poet is always seventeen
And the Poet turns leaves in lovers' leaves:
Romeo, what are you doing in bed
And Juliet! Why are you behind the bedroom door?

The koel, neither nightingale nor lark, is both
And you, neither Mercutio nor Romeo, are both
Release me with your little hands from these poems
Let them fly from this seventh-floor balcony
Come look at the Citadel with this new mourning son!

These childhood songs on the radio
Are nostalgia, a taste for mothers' milk
(In Nepal, they rub the newborn down with it
Making him hairless)
Smooth as clay / Soft as new day
Comes this air: 'There was a theft last night'
And my co-conspirator smiles
His face, a palest dawn


Love is two parallel lines
Marriage, a collision
Forgive me, free one, we collided at night
You, from the mountains and I, from the sea
Now I see you travel inland from the shore
And I, your parallel, too am free
We meet in infinity

(for Vaskar Upadhyay)

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