I was about to embark on a study of the opera Boris Godunov (which will eventually have something to do with poetry, I promise), but it’s only right that I should atone for the seven icky unpublished poems I inflicted on you last week by showing you seven new unpublished poems—not necessarily less icky, but poems I’m prepared to stand by for now, till I make a new cut at least. This is how I work of recent years: write a batch of poems, look them over every few weeks, throw out the ones that don’t do anything for me, keep some as they are, tinker with others: not what you’d call revision, I think, in the sense many of my colleagues swear by (I mostly only revise while writing), but dropping or changing a word here & there. Sometimes poems make it through nine cuts to perish on the tenth. This one’s only survived two.
“Beads” might mean a string of separate thoughts. It seems to be a love poem of sorts, although some of it is to a living person & some to a photograph of her. It remains in actual life till the end, when it goes to a fantasy place (reminiscent of Taos). It seems to be moving further away from itself & me the longer it lasts.
Before I come to play with the night,
I understand the round facets of your face (their sinkings and risings)
physically, with polite and impolite greed.
You prefer hiding between your skin and the hairs on it.
I’m not a necrophiliac, even in my thoughts,
but what if I saw you on the bed and sex leapt in me,
and then I checked to make sure you were breathing,
and you weren’t. Would I be one then?
I’m not at all loyal to my past, whatever people think,
in the way of wanting anything to be what it was,
but I do want songs I hear now
still to mean what they did when I heard them first.
I’ve been chasing the cat very slowly, so I didn’t get to mention
the little plastic Taj Mahal near the main door of the Taj Mahal restaurant
which has electric lights inside that can be switched on and off.
Who is home?
The college kid has a pretty face,
not the kind that’d type him as gay to anyone who knew better,
not even the kind gays are drawn to,
but the kind that got him called gay and got his ass kicked all the way thru lower school,
with the result that now he’s an extra mean fag-basher.
I’m giving up, there won’t be any more worship of people I don’t like,
there won’t be any evasion of the fat terrains of me or the shriveled.
You shut your eyes—foundation’s being applied to the lids—
and your head becomes a cameo I faint in front of.
So I faint. This is some country road,
the grass where sidewalks would be looks intolerant,
a gray-green of smallest effort.
Is it honeysuckle I breathe, is that all? My mouth waters.
My eyes want more in the way.