xi SLEEPING NUDE 1980
Child of repose, her geometrics stun.
There are no angles that her angles shun.
She is asleep, and yet the world
Sleeps. Even the headdress curled
Against her brow is charm of form.
Sun graces her somnolence, warm,
A face that angels would apprise
In jealous splendor. Lullabies
Cannot reach her. She is sound
In slumber. The checkered board is bound
By the same symmetry. Cubes exude
In jagged even space some rude
Gesture of contrition.
The fault is probably their ambition.
Nothing can match or pale her angles,
Cloven thighs and inward tangles.
Her innocent rump adorns a pillow,
Somber in its motion, yellow.
A knee is shadowed on the rose bench
Which holds this sleeping wench
Where we could grip if luck were such.
This girl eludes our will to touch.
Just for a taste of that pale skin
We’d thrust OUR daughters into sin.
And yet she sleeps, heedless of our torment.
A billion masters envy her this moment,
Balthus who betters Balthus, lilt and form.
A taste of such innocence would warm
A devil, chill in spite and rage.
This girl will rule all masters into age,
Will rule our quest for powers, riches,
Fame, and all that itch is.
Faustus would drop his calling for her lips,
Abandon wisdom for the time she grips.
And yet our quest is hopeless, who would
Earn her praise, her smile, could
Praise be given to the thief of time—
A sleep, a yawn, and then divine
Madness, willing a shudder to her thighs.
NO trick of ours could tempt her eyes
More than a flicker, yawn.
She sleeps eternal. Age moves on.
Age shudders. It is caught by such as she.
She need not open eyes to see
The poverty of vision as it’s bent
To secular ambition, cant.
We’d feel your flesh and leave you spoiled.
Such is the wisdom that would make you old.
Such is the wisdom that would make you free.
NO mortal fashioned such as thee,
Your cleft, your breasts, your soft repose.
All beauty ends. Yours softly grows.
xii UNTITLED 1981-82
On the other hand, what can we make
Of this trickster, no more than twelve,
Striding with the pale blue towel
Or Balthus, at eighty, who fashioned her?
Even the table apes her legs,
The graceful ungainly arc
That pushes toward some future.
Is it his or ours? The hour’s
Late for manunkind.
We lay awake nights planning
This lilt of flesh would mirror
Who are caught in time, time’s grip,
Wishing for even the towel’s
Proximity to blazing youth
In this lush figuration.
Loop of the belly, trace of navel,
Where are you going,
Cain or Abel? What can SHE see
Beyond the open door
Or in her heart? No wail
Could startle such innocence,
Triumph of one young tart
Over all our petty
Little decadence, our rage to scream
That youth itself
Were more obscene
That we might trace it.
No willing makes us face it.
We are caught
In lust, decision.
We who would buy this planet
With our savings bonds
Or deferred holdings,
How ripe are we for this
Girl’s scoldings, how ripe are we
Sadly enough we can’t begin.
Balthus, old snicker of a mind,
This wreckage and its ravings.
He offers simply a child’s flesh
And then withholds it.
No Billy Graham apostle
Has the grace
That scolds it. Winds like her hand about a towel
Our pale ambition.
SHE carries all she needs.
Recoils toward vague contrition.
This figure, this corpus, body, “I” have eaten.
Perhaps billions, that self more male than
Mine. And dark descends, a lilt, hair-waft,
Bikini black, ripple to torso, striate of
Biceps, sculpted forearms, hands at either
Edge, framing that welt, pectoral-breasts,
The slightest [comely!] bulk of abdomen—
No maiden this, and yet a sprite, Platonic form
Or such, giving full lie to death and worm.
Eyes lick this aquatic dancer, sylph, tri-sexual-
Construct. One cannot rape, ocular-even, Torres
41, such rapt perfection. Form FENDS off ache.
Odd nymph would break all being. Such is far
More than seeing. Bleeds-needs the shame I’m
Fleeing. Even taut tendons in her neck must
Mock poetic gift—the LIFT of Dara Torres.
Androgynous? There is more heft than even
Libido adhering to this paean to physique.
OUR flesh is weak. Eyes’ knees needs buckle
To attend this maiden—and poet’s aching!
Soul weeps this gain eternal. Flesh burns.
All lyric wilts that'd dare eclipse soul’s worms.
Today I’m 68? Never this young, this aged.
Eyes flick the finger--that’d turn-a-page IT?
LIPS LIKE RAIN
LIPS LIKE RAIN
Lips like rain,
Autumn leaves like lilacs settling down
Over your fine fair hair—
You are alive,
And my soul withers with every flower
Of your breath.
You are the death of my pain.
Silent, snowy silent silk, your flesh is fresh
With my every moment,
You are the fire of my ice.
Alive like sleep, your steep silence
Broods like forever in every curious syllable
Of your sigh—
You are my why.