he is underwater
walking with you
he touches you and in each one you fall out of yourself
woman from the mountain
woman in borrowed shoes
and the shaky name of somewhere else
you’re writing on his shoulder
all the chandeliers
Every renegado sad and civil in a suit.
The cities are shoes worn
writing while walking.
The italics silverblue.
You filled notebooks with their vowel breath
and it unravels a feeling
close to whaling.
Touching someone else’s
spins your umbrella perfect.
You balance a cappuccino of yore on your knee
and keep a lock of my hair in Goethe,
childish, a blue ribbon.
Take your hat when you go.
Take your cigarettes hard to the heel
of your hand.
When you finish your great novel
each city italicized has the feel of seafoam,
the final lapping, as if the ocean were done,
you’ve hit the shore.
The African Queen (1951)
I didn’t have a lamp I didn’t think
would burn the place down then.
I held back, no, was held, but very fast
as in a carriage riding all over Russia.
I could reach you as if
you were here. I could build my body
up buddleia, get the best wings
over me. Toss my hat off the boat
when you laugh like that,
like a bonfire in a cave.
That you loved my Intimissimi
with a look of the jeweler’s window
lit by electricity, long as an Alfons Mucha,
draped as a lithographed woman,
both directions, a sheath of reasons,
proud, perfect, pin-up, architectural
as Christopher Smart’s cat—fine
admit what electrical skin meant in 1758.