"I’d rather hear the Beatles’ “Getting Better” on a mix tape than on Sgt. Pepper any day. I’d rather hear a Frank Sinatra song between Run-DMC and Bananarama than between two other Frank Sinatra songs. When you stick a song on a tape, you set it free. "
"I never felt the urge to jump off a bridge, but there are times I have wanted to jump out of my life, out of my skin. "
"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too. "
I. Two poets fall in love, and that’s when it gets ugly.
II. We go to dinner. You order the wine, red and burning, and it goes down like blood. We start with Shakespeare, move to Plath. You use alliteration to tell me that I’m ripping out your lungs with my metaphors, and I counteract with a hyperbole, say you’ve clogged my arteries with your similes. Don’t touch me with your dictionary, I want to say. Touch me with your hands.
III. The appetizers arrive. Bread as soft and brown as the flesh of your neck. Move to Emerson. Ask about God. Was Jesus this soft and brown? My Bible never told me about the strength in your apricot arms, your chestnut knuckles, this most divine truth resting under your skin. Move to Whitman. I envy the grass that licks your neck when you tumble down hills and watch the clouds. Touch me with your hands.
IV. The main course is a fawn’s heart seasoned with autumns and breaking. I eat more than you do. Move to Rilke. Write letters. When I tell you about the words, you say that you will die for ink and paper: I want you to break my neck. Move to Allen. Kiss the sunlight. Ask to live. Touch me with your hands.
V. Dessert is your mouth at three a.m., pulled over to the side of an empty, dark highway. Tell me you love me and it goes down like blood. Kiss my hip and it feels like dying. Don’t touch me with your dictionary. Touch me with your hands."
"Light griefs are loquacious, but the great are dumb. "
I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.
I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.
Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.
In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.
— Pablo Neruda
"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday. "
I knew the bed would be too small
for all the things
I still want to dream about us
that we would toss
turn our way lose ourselves
in each other’s limbs
and rut there all over again
too small for the full-bodied voluptuousness
too small for the full-contact fuck
too small for the full slick sweat we surrender
too small for the grunts and the screams
we extract from each other
too small for the way those grunts
struggle up from our stomachs
somersaulting themselves into ‘iloveyous’
and spasmodic cum shots
it is good we also have the floor
and the bathroom
and the tub
and the chair
and the desk
and the park
public spaces and the wide open savannas
of our imaginations
these places will have to substitute
offer room for the volume
of our fucking and our poetry
for the way this animal love
lurches monstrous up my chest
wanting to make you happy
and warm and unafraid
so - get a bigger bed
one that can hold all the things
I still want to dream
but ready me a tiny corner on this one
so I can still get lost in you.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
— William Butler Yeats
But damn if there isn’t anything sexier
than a slender boy with a handgun,
a fast car, and a bottle of pills.
"Narcotics are illegal, so we used them to execute people.
For crimes. "
Why make? I used to wonder.
Is it something you have to keep on
making, like beds or dinner, stir it up
or smooth it down? Sex, I understood,
an easy creaking on the upholstered
springs of a man you meet in passing.
You have sex, you don’t have to make it,
it makes you - rise and fall and rise again,
each time, each man, new. But love?
It could be the name of a faraway
city, end of a tired journey you take
with some husband, your bodies chugging
their way up the mountain, glimpsing
the city lights and thinking, If we can
keep it up, we’ll make Love by morning.
I guess it was fun for somebody,
my grandmother once said. By then
I was safely married and had earned
the right to ask, there in the kitchen
beside the nodding aunts. Her answer
made me sad. In her time, love meant making
babies, and if I had borne twelve
and buried three, I might see my husband
as a gun shooting off inside me, each bullet
another year gone. But sex wasn’t my question.
Love was the ghost whose shape kept
shifting. For us, it did not mean babies,
those plump incarnations the minister
had promised - flesh of our flesh,
our increase. Without them, and twenty years
gone, what have we to show
for the planing and hammering, bone
against bone, chisel and wedge,
the tedious sanding of night
into morning - when we rise, stretch,
shake out the years, lean back,
and see what we’ve made: no ghost,
it’s a house. Sunlight through the window
glazing our faces, patina of dust
on our arms. At every axis, mortise
and tenon couple and hold. Doors
swing heavy on their hinges.
__ Rebecca McClanahan__