And every poem with people is for them.
That’s how it began: you and me.
How quickly I found myself in the evening.
How slowly Manhattan invited us there.
The past slipped away with the fare and who’d ask for it back?
It so happens you see there were novels and paintings.
Some films and these short days. Then again, we were alone.
Sun and a bit of sand. No money or celebrity
but love for all that it is worth. What you wrote.
When winter found its darkness without us. Of course
there was time and a moon. There was air. All we typed out.
And still. No one knew who we were.
We looked for each other in all of the rooms and their mirrors.
What the champagne couldn’t fill. The brief extras and dinners—
so I thought: let love kill us, let it start here.
It’s real for them. Even the irony.
When each morning the water hits the back of his neck.
That face. Or the next thought. The next pause.
Someone’s cigarette smoke rolling into the street.
And where could they take themselves now (where did we check out)?
If you’re asking, it’s hardly time to go home.
Because the ticket says here and we arrived at the wrong place.
Painting your walls, letting the wax pool. Thinking of me
and then you. And then you. And then you.
“Mais l’horloge ne sera pas arrivée à ne plus sonner que
l’heure de la pure douleur!”
The handsome child put his hands in the water and his head in the flame.
After all, there was a lot of him left. Anniversaries, birthdays.
How it happened marked an occasion for no one but us.
And I can’t stop looking at you when you kneel for the last drawer.
It’s late or it’s early (to pick out a shirt). So pick out a mood.
Perhaps it’s impossible, why anyone goes back for more, he said.
I stopped calling my father and something in me did stop.
Faces of mannequins. Crowds. Capital.
The festival went on for longer than them.
Tried to leave you a note but it’s all wind today
and there’s more wind tomorrow.
Straighten your tie, throw on those nine o’clock eyes.
What I feel is I’m stopping for you knowing nothing stops for us.
We are here and beginning. In our one misread tongue.
And like that, when I finally arrived there was no one to meet…
looks like we’re nothing to look at.
The warmest thing in his house was a book open to page fifty-two.
Past the church doors, away from these engines;
what would it mean if you give up your plan?
On a highway today the spare key found its owner.
We rode the train with a priest without prayer.
With the hundreds of ways to keep something alive
in lost weather. Or call it your body, your home.
When a sentence undoes us faster than money.
Why would we want to know how this ends?
“My life—” wrote Capote, “can be charted as precisely as a fever:
the highs and lows, the very definite cycles.”
It’s true. We’ll all meet each other and soon.
At a different place than we thought. Well past the marked time;
dressed for a happier outcome, they were.
Under the cab light, into the bar talk…
“I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.”
A new word which could finally address this.
Saw you. Saw no one. Saw nothing.
Saw no thing. Not one thing all fall.
For weeks getting mail for the dead until one of you wrote,
he is dead. Don’t you worry about him.
And if it wasn’t these grey eyes that had you then: here.
At last—at the start of the hour.
Days and nights at the party.
Nights and days for a price.
It appears, (only now it appears to me)
we’ve overheard too much to stay young.
How in front of the cameras
it was as if he was seen all the time
for the first time.
What I mean is, who are the people you know you can’t love.
Because while the dramas continued the plates under them shifted.
The water rose higher.
Finally they brought in a doctor to discern the small flaw.
Looking back—looks like just sad talk (looks like no more then).
I threw out my hangers and kept all your clothes.
Frames for the savage achievements.
Frames for what cannot be framed.
Hours lost in a car waiting for something to move me.
To pieces. Or the #1 song when you were born.
And what cannot be seen is how chance doesn’t talk back.
Spend a life with your debt and your one clue.
Spend it working to work. Spend it spending away.
Old government in the new America.
They want all of your zeros. They want even our nothing.
And when my license expired the same life could see me.
Is it cruel to regret your one body that dies?
By this Union and Wasteland, I’m dazed
but I’m watching the seasons.
And after you leave I lose one of my senses for days.
Again and again. There were malls. Banks.
Years of bombed people.
In the real America with expensive, expendable taste.
“Vite! est-il d’autres vies?”
Please let this go and continue your sentence.
One of these mornings someone may just want to keep you baby
and you’ll have to learn new lines for “no.”
When you go to parties people ask,
what is it like being with him?
A Malaysian plane disappeared.
Something burned in a field twice.
What is it like being anything then?
And yet, all this happened so I’m trying to reach you
right here in the poem.
Smoking too many cigarettes, writing very few lines.
In the dream we said all we wanted and still took you back.
Without rain their calendars looked like nothing you’d try.
And what about pleasure…
how do you spend it?
Cancel. Cancelled. Cancel.
Ignored and forgotten.
Would I love you more than money?
I did love you and with less.
Whatever your fear is, safe to say that it’s coming.
Every night it’s all they figured to ask.
When and how often can this be rescheduled?
The far lane turned out to be empty.
He swam alone and heard his own lack.
And everyone has a sixth chapter in their biography.
The beautiful fish rarely live long.
“Then, at one point, I did not need to translate the notes;
they went directly to my hands.”
Where underneath the flecked skin
one or one thousand things failed them.
Instead of describing the grass he lay on top of it. Drunk.
Out of the ether, into the graveyard spiral—
if you’re thinking of leaving, if you’re asking again,
it’s hardly time to go home.
So if I’m honest, I’ll tell you,
I broke the glass you drink from on purpose.
Possible or unlikely—how Prince Street in early September
has everything anyone wants.
And right now you’ll remember
three people who sharply run through you.
“Who is the third who walks always beside you?”
If it’s us (and who else), we aren’t there. We have fled.
In a comment, under some sort of loss,
a user has written:
“thinking how after twelve years
I came home to find David totally gone.
Car, clothes, accounts. Everything.”
Everything in full sun. With speech spilling over it all.
“It’s better to hurt people than not to be whole.” To Sontag, 1960.
There were portraits of newly made coffins the artist called tests.
Take them with you, he said. As in “to go,” if it’s urgent.
And why should I care if there’s no direct route.
You’re in Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles,
nighttime. Over the bridge, under the sun.
Not the wires and pills, the announcements or guest lists.
What would we want to power these lives?
In afternoons when they said, don’t forget…
don’t forget what this was on your way out.
Like yards full of metals, like turned earth:
we’re stones. We are stones that grey on.
And if you keep your eyes here there’s room for a question—
what makes happiness different from anything else?
“Well,” said the boy, “I thought we knew more than that.”
Here you are. In the wrong shoes at the getting late social.
It’s the last person you think of. The first past the alarm.
Soon became every day we attended by promise or boredom.
1955. 1939. 1990.
Tuesday in March. October on Sunday.
If you’ve been a good host you forget all your lines.
Or, look here and see oil and pencil on pillow.
Your eyes like a hand on Rauschenberg’s Bed.
It’s noon or it’s midnight.
An hour in any one language is still just an hour
(it makes the drive longer).
16. 40. 33.
“I go on loving you like water but…”
I go on loving you and going and.
I go on, I go on, I go up.
Unreachable like a live wire in the sky.
We are Pacific, Atlantic, this north or south feeling.
Take the long way forever.
If you’re asking, if you still need to know,
it’s hardly time to go home.