I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges, I see my father strolling out under the ochre sandstone arch, the red tiles glinting like bent plates of blood behind his head, I see my mother with a few light books at her hip standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its sword-tips black in the May air, they are about to graduate, they are about to get married, they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are innocent, they would never hurt anybody. I want to go up to them and say Stop, don't do it-she's the wrong woman, he's the wrong man, you are going to do things you cannot imagine you would ever do, you are going to do bad things to children, you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of, you are going to want to die. I want to go up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it, her hungry pretty blank face turning to me, her pitiful beautiful untouched body, his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me, his pitiful beautiful untouched body, but I don't do it. I want to live. I take them up like the male and female paper dolls and bang them together at the hips like chips of flint as if to strike sparks from them, I say Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it
standing quotesformal quotesgates quotescolleges quotesfather quotesstrolling quotesochre quotessandstone quotesarch quotesred quotestiles quotesglinting quotesbent quotesplates quotesblood quoteshead quotesmother quoteslight quotesbooks quoteship quotespillar quotesmade quotestiny quotesbricks quoteswroughtiron quotesgate quotesopen quotesswordtips quotesblack quotesair quotesgraduate quotesmarried quoteskids quotesdumb quotesinnocent quoteshurt quotesstop quotesitshes quoteswrong quoteswoman quotesman quotesthings quotesimagine quotesbad quoteschildren quotessuffer quotesways quotesheard quotesdie quoteslate quotessunlight quoteshungry quotespretty quotesblank quotesface quotesturning quotespitiful quotesbeautiful quotesuntouched quotesbody quotesarrogant quoteshandsome quotesblind quoteslive quotesmale quotesfemale quotespaper quotesdolls quotesbang quoteships quoteschips quotesflint quotesstrike quotessparks quotes
The Knowing Afterwards, when we have slept, paradise- comaed and woken, we lie a long time looking at each other. I do not know what he sees, but I see eyes of surpassing tenderness and calm, a calm like the dignity of matter. I love the open ocean blue-grey-green of his iris, I love the curve of it against the white, that curve the sight of what has caused me to come, when he's quite still, deep inside me. I have never seen a curve like that, except the earth from outer space. I don't know where he got his kindness without self-regard, almost without self, and yet he chose one woman, instead of the others. By knowing him, I get to know the purity of the animal which mates for life. Sometimes he is slightly smiling, but mostly he just gazes at me gazing, his entire face lit. I love to see it change if I cry-there is no worry, no pity, no graver radiance. If we are on our backs, side by side, with our faces turned fully to face each other, I can hear a tear from my lower eye hit the sheet, as if it is an early day on earth, and then the upper eye's tears braid and sluice down through the lower eyebrow like the invention of farmimg, irrigation, a non-nomadic people. I am so lucky that I can know him. This is the only way to know him. I am the only one who knows him. When I wake again, he is still looking at me, as if he is eternal. For an hour we wake and doze, and slowly I know that though we are sated, though we are hardly touching, this is the coming the other coming brought us to the edge of-we are entering, deeper and deeper, gaze by gaze, this place beyond the other places, beyond the body itself, we are making love.
knowing quotesslept quotesparadise quotescomaed quoteswoken quoteslie quoteslong quotestime quotessees quoteseyes quotessurpassing quotestenderness quotescalm quotescalm quotesdignity quotesmatter quoteslove quotesopen quotesocean quotesbluegreygreen quotesiris quotescurve quoteswhite quotessight quotescaused quotesdeep quotesinside quotesearth quotesouter quotesspace quoteskindness quotesselfregard quoteschose quoteswoman quotesknowing quotespurity quotesanimal quotesmates quoteslife quotesslightly quotessmiling quotesgazes quotesgazing quotesentire quotesface quoteslit quoteschange quotescrythere quotesworry quotespity quotesgraver quotesradiance quotesbacks quotesside quotesside quotesfaces quotesturned quotesfully quoteshear quotestear quoteslower quoteseye quoteshit quotessheet quotesearly quotesday quotesearth quotesupper quoteseyes quotestears quotesbraid quotessluice quoteseyebrow quotesinvention quotesfarmimg quotesirrigation quotesnonnomadic quotespeople quoteslucky quoteswake quoteseternal quoteshour quotesdoze quotesslowly quotessated quotestouching quotescoming quotesbrought quotesedge quotesofwe quotesentering quotesdeeper quotesdeeper quotesgaze quotesgaze quotesplace quotesplaces quotesbody quotesmaking quoteslove quotes
I've said that he and I had been crazy for each other. But maybe my ex and I were not crazy for each other. Maybe we were sane for each other, as if our desire was almost not even personal - it was personal, but that hardly mattered, since there seemed to be no other woman or man in the world.
Poems come from ordinary experiences and objects, I think. Out of memory - a dress I lent my daughter on her way back to college; a newspaper photograph of war; a breast self-exam; the tooth fairy; Calvinist parents who beat up their children; a gesture of love; seeing oneself naked over age 50 in a set of bright hotel bathroom mirrors.
poems quotesordinary quotesexperiences quotesobjects quotesmemory quotesdress quoteslent quotesdaughter quotesback quotescollege quotesnewspaper quotesphotograph quoteswar quotesbreast quotesselfexam quotestooth quotesfairy quotescalvinist quotesparents quotesbeat quoteschildren quotesgesture quoteslove quotesoneself quotesnaked quotesage quotes50 quotesset quotesbright quoteshotel quotesbathroom quotesmirrors quotes