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Old 11-20-2011, 08:56 PM   #241
Hollylane
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Default

Sylvia Plath - Crossing The Water

Black lake, black boat, two black, cut-paper people.
Where do the black trees go that drink here?
Their shadows must cover Canada.

A little light is filtering from the water flowers.
Their leaves do not wish us to hurry:
They are round and flat and full of dark advice.

Cold worlds shake from the oar.
The spirit of blackness is in us, it is in the fishes.
A snag is lifting a valedictory, pale hand;

Stars open among the lilies.
Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens?
This is the silence of astounded souls.
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Old 11-24-2011, 12:10 PM   #242
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Default

Thanksgiving

by Linda McCarriston

Every year we call it down upon ourselves,
the chaos of the day before the occasion,
the morning before the meal. Outdoors,
the men cut wood, fueling appetite
in the gray air, as Nana, Arlene, Mary,
Robin—whatever women we amount to—
turn loose from their wrappers the raw,
unmade ingredients. A flour sack leaks,
potatoes wobble down counter tops
tracking dirt like kids, blue hubbard erupts
into shards and sticky pulp when it's whacked
with the big knife, cranberries leap away
rather than be halved. And the bird, poor
blue thing—only we see it in its dead skin—
gives up for good the long, obscene neck, the gizzard,
the liver quivering in my hand, the heart.

So what? What of it? Besides the laughter,
I mean, or the steam that shades the windows
so that the youngest sons must come inside
to see how the smells look. Besides
the piled wood closing over the porch windows,
the pipes the men fill, the beers
they crack, waiting in front of the game.

Any deliberate leap into chaos, small or large,
with an intent to make order, matters. That's what.
A whole day has passed between the first apple
cored for pie, and the last glass polished
and set down. This is a feast we know how to make,
a Day of Feast, a day of thanksgiving
for all we have and all we are and whatever
we've learned to do with it: Dear God, we thank you
for your gifts in this kitchen, the fire,
the food, the wine. That we are together here.
Bless the world that swirls outside these windows—
a room full of gifts seeming raw and disordered,
a great room in which the stoves are cold,
the food scattered, the children locked forever
outside dark windows. Dear God, grant
to the makers and keepers power to save it all.
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:07 PM   #243
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Default

I measure every Grief I meet
by Emily Dickinson

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –

I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –

I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –

I wonder if when Years have piled –
Some Thousands – on the Harm –
That hurt them early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm –

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love –

The Grieved – are many – I am told –
There is the various Cause –
Death – is but one – and comes but once –
And only nails the eyes –

There's Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –
A sort they call "Despair" –
There's Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air –

And though I may not guess the kind –
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary –

To note the fashions – of the Cross –
And how they're mostly worn –
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own –
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:13 PM   #244
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by Emily Dickinson

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him,--did you not,
His notice sudden is.

The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,

Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun,--
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

Several of nature's people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;

But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:52 PM   #245
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Wink

I beseech thee, O Yellow Pages...
by Barbara Hamby

I beseech thee, O Yellow Pages, help me find a number
for Barbara Stanwyck, because I need a tough broad
in my corner right now. She'll pour me a tumbler
of scotch or gin and tell me to buck up, show me the rod
she has hidden in her lingerie drawer. She has a temper,
yeah, but her laugh could take the wax off a cherry red
Chevy. "Shoot him," she'll say merrily, then scamper
off to screw an insurance company out of another wad
of dough. I'll be left holding the phone or worse, patsy
in another scheme, arrested by Edward G. Robinson
and sent to Sing Sing, while Barb lives like Gatsby
in Thailand or Tahiti, gambling the night away until the sun
rises in the east, because there are some things a girl can be sure
of, like the morning coming after night's inconsolable lure.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:14 PM   #246
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Default worth the read..

Body and Soul

Half-numb, guzzling bourbon and Coke from coffee mugs,
our fathers fall in love with their own stories, nuzzling
the facts but mauling the truth, and my friend’s father begins
to lay out with the slow ease of a blues ballad a story
about sandlot baseball in Commerce, Oklahoma decades ago.
These were men’s teams, grown men, some in their thirties
and forties who worked together in zinc mines or on oil rigs,
sweat and khaki and long beers after work, steel guitar music
whanging in their ears, little white rent houses to return to
where their wives complained about money and broken Kenmores
and then said the hell with it and sang Body and Soul
in the bathtub and later that evening with the kids asleep
lay in bed stroking their husband’s wrist tattoo and smoking
Chesterfields from a fresh pack until everything was O.K.
Well, you get the idea. Life goes on, the next day is Sunday,
another ball game, and the other team shows up one man short.

They say we’re one man short, but can we use this boy,
he’s only fifteen years old, and at least he’ll make a game.
They take a look at the kid, muscular and kind of knowing
the way he holds his glove, with the shoulders loose,
the thick neck, but then with that boy’s face under
a clump of angelic blonde hair, and say, oh, hell, sure,
let’s play ball. So it all begins, the men loosening up,
joking about the fat catcher’s sex life, it’s so bad
last night he had to hump his wife, that sort of thing,
pairing off into little games of catch that heat up into
throwing matches, the smack of the fungo bat, lazy jogging
into right field, big smiles and arcs of tobacco juice,
and the talk that gives a cool, easy feeling to the air,
talk among men normally silent, normally brittle and a little
angry with the empty promise of their lives. But they chatter
and say rock and fire, babe, easy out, and go right ahead
and pitch to the boy, but nothing fancy, just hard fastballs
right around the belt, and the kid takes the first two
but on the third pops the bat around so quick and sure
that they pause a moment before turning around to watch
the ball still rising and finally dropping far beyond
the abandoned tractor that marks left field. Holy shit.
They’re pretty quiet watching him round the bases,
but then, what the hell, the kid knows how to hit a ball,
so what, let’s play some goddamned baseball here.
And so it goes. The next time up, the boy gets a look
at a very nifty low curve, then a slider, and the next one
is the curve again, and he sends it over the Allis Chambers,
high and big and sweet. The left fielder just stands there, frozen.
As if this isn’t enough, the next time up he bats left-handed.
They can’t believe it, and the pitcher, a tall, mean-faced
man from Okarche who just doesn’t give a shit anyway
because his wife ran off two years ago leaving him with
three little ones and a rusted-out Dodge with a cracked block,
leans in hard, looking at the fat catcher like he was the sonofabitch
who ran off with his wife, leans in and throws something
out of the dark, green hell of forbidden fastballs, something
that comes in at the knees and then leaps viciously towards
the kid’s elbow. He swings exactly the way he did right-handed,
and they all turn like a chorus line toward deep right field
where the ball loses itself in sagebrush and the sad burnt
dust of dustbowl Oklahoma. It is something to see.

But why make a long story long: runs pile up on both sides,
the boy comes around five times, and five times the pitcher
is cursing both God and His mother as his chew of tobacco sours
into something resembling horse piss, and a ragged and bruised
Spalding baseball disappears into the far horizon. Goodnight,
Irene. They have lost the game and some painful side bets
and they have been suckered. And it means nothing to them
though it should to you when they are told the boy’s name is
Mickey Mantle. And that’s the story, and those are the facts.
But the facts are not the truth. I think, though, as I scan
the faces of these old men now lost in the innings of their youth,
I think I know what the truth of this story is, and I imagine
it lying there in the weeds behind that Allis Chalmers
just waiting for the obvious question to be asked: why, oh
why in hell didn’t they just throw around the kid, walk him,
after he hit the third homer? Anybody would have,
especially nine men with disappointed wives and dirty socks
and diminishing expectations for whom winning at anything
meant everything
. Men who knew how to play the game,
who had talent when the other team had nothing except this ringer
who without a pitch to hit was meaningless, and they could go home
with their little two-dollar side bets and stride into the house
singing If You’ve Got the Money, Honey, I’ve Got the Time
with a bottle of Southern Comfort under their arms and grab
Dixie or May Ella up and dance across the gray linoleum
as if it were V-Day all over again. But they did not.
And they did not because they were men, and this was a boy.
And they did not because sometimes after making love,
after smoking their Chesterfields in the cool silence and
listening to the big bands on the radio that sounded so glamorous,
so distant, they glanced over at their wives and notice the lines
growing heavier around the eyes and mouth, felt what their wives
felt: that Les Brown and Glenn Miller and all those dancing couples
and in fact all possibility of human gaiety and light-heartedness
were as far away and unreachable as Times Square or the Avalon
ballroom. They did not because of the gray linoleum lying there
in the half-dark, the free calendar from the local mortuary
that said one day was pretty much like another, the work gloves
looped over the doorknob like dead squirrels. And they did not
because they had gone through a depression and a war that had left
them with the idea that being a man in the eyes of their fathers
and everyone else had cost them just too goddamned much to lay it
at the feet of a fifteen year-old boy. And so they did not walk him,
and lost, but at least had some ragged remnant of themselves
to take back home. But there is one thing more, though it is not
a fact. When I see my friend’s father staring hard into the bottomless
well of home plate as Mantle’s fifth homer heads toward Arkansas,
I know that this man with the half-orphaned children and
worthless Dodge had also encountered for his first and possibly
only time the vast gap between talent and genius, has seen
as few have in the harsh light of an Oklahoma Sunday, the blonde
and blue-eyed bringer of truth, who will not easily be forgotten.

– B. H. Fairchild
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:55 PM   #247
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Default

How Poetry Comes to Me
Gary Snyder

It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:33 PM   #248
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Default Love his humor and voice

Why I Am Not a Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Frank O'Hara
(1971)
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:27 AM   #249
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Default

Shrinking as they rise, the...

constellations
grow so much smaller late at night
when I walk softly out of the house,
trying not to wake anyone up,
sitting here on the blue porch
to see Cassiopeia the size of a book-
end,
Draco the Dragon smaller than
a milksnake,
realizing again I am shrinking,
the picture taken last month in which
my son
rises above my head
so much like the one
taken of me and my father as we stood
in front of St. Bernard's,
my graduation diploma in my folded hands,
his pockmarked face looking into my neck,
my padded shoulders level with his bloodshot
eyes,
and I know the bells were ringing
and the people all around us were laughing and
loudly talking,
that cars swished by in the afternoon sun
but I just looked down on my father's waved hair,
smelled the Schaefer's on his dark breath,
refusing to shake his hand which even now
holds itself out, twenty-three years after
his death,
into this clear-night December Pennsylvania air.

Len Roberts
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:34 PM   #250
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Default Put Out My Eyes

Put out my eyes, and I can see you still,
Slam my ears to, and I can hear you yet;
And without any feet can go to you;
And tongueless, I can conjure you at will.
Break off my arms, I shall take hold of you
And grasp you with my heart as with a hand;
Arrest my heart, my brain will beat as true;
And if you set this brain of mine afire,
Then on my blood-stream I yet will carry you.


Rainer Maria Rilke
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:58 PM   #251
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Default Lament (Whom will you cry to, heart?)

Whom will you cry to, heart? More and more lonely,
your path struggles on through incomprehensible
mankind. All the more futile perhaps
for keeping to its direction,
keeping on toward the future,
toward what has been lost.

Once. You lamented? What was it? A fallen berry
of jubilation, unripe.
But now the whole tree of my jubilation
is breaking, in the storm it is breaking, my slow
tree of joy.
Loveliest in my invisible
landscape, you that made me more known
to the invisible angels.


Translated by Stephen Mitchell


Rainer Maria Rilke
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:38 PM   #252
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Default

Used Book

by Julie Kane

What luck—an open bookstore up ahead
as rain lashed awnings over Royal Street,
and then to find the books were secondhand,
with one whole wall assigned to poetry;
and then, as if that wasn't luck enough,
to find, between Jarrell and Weldon Kees,
the blue-on-cream, familiar backbone of
my chapbook, out of print since '83—
its cover very slightly coffee-stained,
but aging (all in all) no worse than flesh
though all those cycles of the seasons since
its publication by a London press.
Then, out of luck, I read the name inside:
The man I thought would love me till I died.


This one stopped me in my tracks. And I had to reread it see the sonnet and rhyme scheme she wove with deft hands and invisible thread. Just wow.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:01 AM   #253
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Default



The Eye of the Soul

I judge you not by what you wear,
Whether your garment is of rag or riches,
Or your skin is of a color white or black,
Whether you wear some gold or trinkets,
Or decorate yourself with stones and diamonds,
I see you with the eye of Soul.

I know you, for who you are inside of you,
Not for your smiles, for smiles could be false,
Not for your looks, for looks could deceive,
Not for your appearance, for that won’t last,
And not for your clothes, for that only covers.
I see you with the eye of Soul.

I am a friend to that you inside of you,
Indifferent to your dose of limitations,
Forgiving to your human flaws of character
Unyielding to rumors and gossips about you
For the eye within sees even more,
I see you with the eye of Soul.

By Oliver O. Mbamara


__________________
Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.

It is said, " Some lives are linked across time.....

Connected by an ancient calling that echoes through the ages "......
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:27 PM   #254
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Default Machine~

- Bomb Shell-

"Different eyes, life-styles and lies.
A roller coaster of sorts, seems to be a last resort.
All so easily gained, with one drop of blood and a sliver of pain.
A little bit crazy, like a hot summer day...a little bit lazy when you're slipping away.

She's so soft, like a crickets' serenade.
But she's not quite so stable, a walking grenade.
A blow to the head. Leaves one wondering why, with a faint, hopefilled voice, and a dark, scary sky.

So uncomparable, by any other means, but it all turns out different for others...it seems."


-Billy-
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:20 PM   #255
SoNotHer
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Default Ghosts of Christmas past...

Boston Ancestors

by Susan Minot

I hear them behind me
crossing Persian rugs on heel-less shoes,
drinking Dubonnet, eating nuts
(from the pantry the smell of stew),
talking about naval battles
and varsity crew,
their voices raspy with cigars
in underheated rooms.

Someone sewed their eyes shut
with needlepoint thread
and when they speak
they make up for it
in booming tones.

It is somewhere
out of them
alive or dead
I have sprung.
Yet not a person there seems to recognize
me.
Not one.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:10 PM   #256
Cin
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Default


Solar
By Robin Becker

The desert is butch, she dismisses your illusions
about what might do to make your life
work better, she stares you down and doesn’t say
a word about your past. She brings you a thousand days,
a thousand suns effortlessly each morning rising.
She lets you think what you want all afternoon.
Rain walks across her mesa, red-tailed hawks
writhe in fields of air, she lets you look at her.
She laughs at your study habits, your orderly house,
your need to name her “vainest woman you’ve ever met.”
Then she turns you toward the voluptuous valleys,
she gives you dreams of green forests,
she doesn’t care who else you love.
She sings in the grass, the sagebrush, the small trees
struggling and the tiny lizards scrambling
up the walls. You find her when you’re ready
in the barbed wire and fence posts, on the scrub where you walk
with your parched story, where she walks, spendthrift,
tossing up sunflowers, throwing her indifferent
shadow across the mountain. Haven’t you guessed?
She’s the loneliest woman alive but that’s her gift;
she makes you love your own loneliness,
the gates to darkness and memory. She is your best, indifferent
teacher, she knows you don’t mean what you say.
She flings aside your technical equipment,
she requires you to survive in her high country
like the patient sheep and cattle who graze and take her
into their bodies. She says lightning, and
get used to it. Her storms are great moments
in the history of American weather, her rain remakes the world,
while your emotional life is run-off from a tin roof.
Like the painted clown at Picuris Pueblo
who started up the pole and then dropped into the crowd,
anonymous, she paws the ground, she gallops past.
What can you trust? This opening, this returning,
this arroyo, this struck gong inside your chest?
She wants you to stay open like the hibiscus
that opens its orange petals for a single day.
At night, a fool, you stand on the chilly mesa,
split open like the great cleft of the Rio Grande Gorge,
trying to catch a glimpse of her, your new, long-term companion.
She gives you a sliver of moon, howl of a distant dog,
windy premonition of winter.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:12 PM   #257
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Default

A PASTURE OF MY PALM
Robin Becker

Trembling, desirous, above the display
case, I hovered with my child’s palm. Beneath,
porcelain palominos stamped their feet
and foals stood with their long legs splayed. I longed

to take one home, to place it on a shelf
and study the raised leg, the frothy mane.
Then cupping the horse’s shape in my hand,
I’d make a pasture of my palm, a field.

No one was looking, no one, I reasoned,
would know I swiped it, toy in my pocket.
That night I stroked the caramel china.
I was galloping, when my mother walked

into my room. She knew I was lying.
(The horse? a gift…) I cried when she told me
we’d speak with the manager the next day.
In his office I stood, wept, but even

then I was really crying for the cheap
horse back in the glass case, my mother,
my foolish and punishable desires,
the future taking shaping: coral, stampede.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:31 PM   #258
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Default Too good to not repost here -

Three for the Mona Lisa

by John Stone

1

It is not what she did
at 10 o'clock
last evening

accounts for the smile

It is
that she plans
to do it again

tonight.

2

Only the mouth
all those years
ever

letting on.

3

It's not the mouth
exactly

it's not the eyes
exactly either

it's not even
exactly a smile

But, whatever,
I second the motion.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:41 PM   #259
Truly Scrumptious
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Default Dulzura

Dulzura – Sandra Cisneros


Make love to me in Spanish.
Not with that other tongue.
I want you juntito a mi,
tender like the language
crooned to babies.
I want to be that
lullabied, mi bien
querido, that loved.

I want you inside
the mouth of my heart,
inside the harp of my wrists,
the sweet meat of the mango,
in the gold that dangles
from my ears and neck.

Say my name. Say it.
The way it’s supposed to be said.
I want to know that I knew you
even before I knew you.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:18 PM   #260
Cin
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Default

Number 3. Looks like a Robin Becker marathon. Last one. I hope.

A History of Sexual Preference
By Robin Becker

We are walking our very public attraction
through eighteenth-century Philadelphia.
I am simultaneously butch girlfriend
and suburban child on a school trip,
Independence Hall, 1775, home
to the Second Continental Congress.
Although she is wearing her leather jacket,
although we have made love for the first time
in a hotel room on Rittenhouse Square,
I am preparing my teenage escape from Philadelphia,
from Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously occupied
residential street in the nation,
from Carpenters’ Hall, from Congress Hall,
from Graff House where the young Thomas
Jefferson lived, summer of 1776. In my starched shirt
and waistcoat, in my leggings and buckled shoes,
in postmodern drag, as a young eighteenth-century statesman,
I am seventeen and tired of fighting for freedom
and the rights of men. I am already dreaming of Boston—
city of women, demonstrations, and revolution
on a grand and personal scale.

Then the maître d’
is pulling out our chairs for brunch, we have the
surprised look of people who have been kissing
and now find themselves dressed and dining
in a Locust Street townhouse turned café,
who do not know one another very well, who continue
with optimism to pursue relationship. Eternity
may simply be our mortal default mechanism
set on hope despite all evidence. In this mood,
I roll up my shirtsleeves and she touches my elbow.
I refuse the seedy view from the hotel window.
I picture instead their silver inkstands,
the hoopskirt factory on Arch Street,
the Wireworks, their eighteenth-century herb gardens,
their nineteenth-century row houses restored
with period door knockers.
Step outside.
We have been deeded the largest landscaped space
within a city anywhere in the world. In Fairmount Park,
on horseback, among the ancient ginkgoes, oaks, persimmons,
and magnolias, we are seventeen and imperishable, cutting classes
May of our senior year. And I am happy as the young
Tom Jefferson, unbuttoning my collar, imagining his power,
considering my healthy body, how I might use it in the service
of the country of my pleasure.

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