how many of my hours
will I spend wishing
because from this island
to there looks a lot like
happiness a scratching
at the door something
whispering hey I got
the answer could it be
the Portuguese in me
saudade tugging at
the heart homesick
for the dreamt-up home
it’s a preview a face
that promises the whole
hog you shake your head
and think I would run
to you and when I am
no longer able to walk
I can crawl a good pace
the will to sack all you’ve got
for a gesture an unfledged
story the coffee’s never hot
enough it’s like growing up
on too much Wham! it’s not
pretty here and it’s not good
the way the sun is to a restless
graveyard shift worker is how
I will not let myself sleep
for the sight of myself
is blinding and brief
what I mean by the sun
is I wish to be all the things
I am not I remember a tree
in the woods behind my
grandmother’s house a heavy
branch stretching far away
from its trunk my grandma
propped it with a ladder
for a while but the fix
was stopgap and soon came
the choice let the branch kill
the tree or cut it though now
that I am older I know its true
longing was hidden in the dirt
struggling its whole life
unseen ugly and holding
it all up which makes me
wonder is there imagination
without hunger is longing
a kind of work and if this
pursuit is a means to harmony
is my labor not holy
I wish to be everything
and nothing I want nothing
but to speak French
glibly or to live both in her
arms and elsewhere is this mood
what Pessoa meant by “half-tones
of the soul’s consciousness”
this blind march toward
the one thing I crave knowing
all along it will be a visage
the moment I approach
satisfaction which means
when I have pleasure I want
pain God’s love my first desire
so I was taught at an early age
to yearn and to look for signs
that the desired desires me
for example it was supposed
to rain on my birthday and did it
here is an image of longing
I put on her dress I tear at
the waist I pull it between
my thighs then up to my face
I bite the hem my gums bleed
into the fabric “the primitive sign
of wanting” Anscombe writes
“is trying to get” if Chloe
wants a sandwich for instance
Chloe is going to try to get herself
a sandwich if she has given up
sandwiches or is unable to get one
right away she will still feel
the urge to do so she is thus
disposed to take pleasure
in what she desires and believes
not having it to be displeasurable
as thoughts repeatedly turn
to the idea of what she wants
will I take despite self-preservation
despite awareness whatever course
likely to engender intention because
to yearn is to keep having attention
drawn to fulfilling or reasons
to avoid that which will not bring
it about once on the subway
ok twice maybe every time I ride
the subway I fall in love with
a different life I wish to be on
that train which slows but never
stops opens its doors lets me on
because what compels me is lack
which by definition will not be
quenched for somewhere near
satisfaction desire reproduces
itself don’t say a Woozle in a larch
spinney say pain chasing pain
a kind of whack-a-mole like trying
to find where the wall of fog
in a field begins only to learn
the field is nowhere not even
in your childhood no more
Tootsie Pops after teeth
cleanings no more moon rises
over the ocean and that great
something you thought you saw
under the boat was just the shadow
of the boat admit it the one thing
you truly want is a do-over
now is the moment you realize
you’ve been travelling at a hurried
speed in the back of a minivan
and now you remember
some twenty years ago when
you had the choice the other
car you could’ve gotten into
deliver me from regret
prays desire silence my loud
life with a hand over my ear
pinning my other to the pillow
in a recent stock photo search
of the word longing a man
pulls open his pants and looks
down dolefully another is titled
“young dieting beautiful woman
sitting in front of delicious cream
and chocolate tart cake gazing 
at it appraisingly healthy lifestyle
concept studio gray background
isolated copy space” then there’s
the fluffy Scottish-fold kitten
on its side or the teddy bear
looking out to sea and then
the elderly woman staring past
a black and white photo of her
dead husband was he her husband
my first crush a girl in a photo
an orphan in a Playbill
it was at least half a year before
I realized the Playbill was old
and she was now old perhaps
dead this is of course the premise
of The Who’s “Pictures of Lily”
about a boy who falls in love
with a dead girl he can only be
with in fantasies and dreams
Toni Morrison refers to graveyard
love when she writes in
Song of Solomon "‘Thank God,’
they whispered to themselves,
‘thank God I ain’t never had one
of them graveyard loves’" when one
casts a cemetery love spell the object
begins to long for the caster
and this longing grows stronger
and stronger casting it requires
the graves of a husband and wife
who lived many happy years
together however the problem
with such a strong spell is that
the caster will fall ill grow anxious
aggressive irritable and will gradually
lose interest in life thus killing
his desire only to bequeath it to
someone else I am sick of lying
in bed burning the pills aren’t strong
enough and I am sick of hearing
that there is a new pill so here
I stand in a place called Evergreen
knowing full well the penalty casting
a cemetery love spell for the one
I long for the life I desire most
because I want it back tomorrow
I am going to walk to Newtown Creek
and I am going to wait there until I see
my daughter come out of the water