By Honor Moore
(posted Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1998)
To hear the poet read “Edward,” click here.
The car, then he moves, opening door suddenly
heavy, further into the warehouse night, or
perhaps we drive uptown, city darkening, leaving
it all unsaid. You are thinner than ever. We were
children then really, my fast blue car, a beach,
rooms in which you placed objects with a grace
that flattered God. I was watching men, as you were,
swerving an old car out the dirt drive after
you put guests to bed. On your knees in prayer
now, every day, fingers at the glands in my neck
like every gay man I know. Tweed and muffler, beard
patterned across a cheek. I don’t know how
to get past this. In restaurant dark, friends move
through our conversation as if the past were
a bright street. A mime’s fingers. No one makes
love, and this year there have been so many.
Oh darling, old friend–of beauty, of exuberant
knowledge–turn as you close the door, take me
as you did then, a bouquet of lilac, a waltz.
Days of rain until you can’t remember sun,
breath on the mirror, brothers and sisters
around a New England table. I was hungry
for what you gave, awkward in my largeness:
Delicate, you said, like a Victorian.
Offshore, low sound of horns in fog, but the past
comes proudly forward. Who could have told us
it was the present we would find in ruins?
You move across the street like a cello sounding
or like grief–you who travel the places
where the texts were written, cross every floor
like a dancer. There is no wind. I want to hear
your voice, ask how you are. Behind the attic
wall: milk, cookies, late night talk of book
or film. It’s as if someone purposely disturbed
this: a brook runs loud in spring, you live here
with a boy who builds paper castles. I wore
silk, you carried French luggage. Who could see
it was our future we would find in ruins?
Don’t be ridiculous! How would I phrase it?
Is your blood poisoned? Or: What is it like
to sit in a beautiful room waiting it out?
There are ten of us here, bent, moving, showing
signs of life, and the sky outside is near gray.
Thursdays, they cut the grass. Either I travel
or stay home. Who are we to each other? I mean,
when you dream figures on a road, am I ever
one of them? You put the key in a car door,
then drive a hundred as if we are lovers.
That house: stones painted white, the desert, dust
rising from the driveway, a lizard scuttles up
a whitewashed wall, we dine with a blackhaired woman
from Boston. One might argue we knew nothing
of love. Were the trees willows? Yes, and
you showed me plants that grow a hundred years
no matter how dry the ground. What is it I circle
like a plane in weather, or a wooing husband?
You’re falling away, darling, aren’t you? Slowly.