June 3, 2011

Do You Curse Where You Come From

David Salle

For Joe Pernice
-- by William Corbett

The sky behind
grape jelly clouds
shows through in white
cuts and rips.
It's cold enough
to be under the electric
blanket with a book
and not yet 9 p.m.
watching the jelly clouds
come to a rolling boil
and for a flicker
think nothing.
The book falls
from my hands
and I catch myself.
Frost's wand might
zap the baby tomato
and pepper plants black.
Let it come.
Is there a farewell
poem the equal
of Raymond Carver's
"No Need"?
Reach out the light
cold too beyond
the clouds where
stars swarm.
So much to take in,
so hard to hold,
so little we can say.

Sex Without Love
-- by Sharon Olds

How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other's bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away. How do they come to the
come to the come to the God come to the
still waters, and not love
the one who came there with them, light
rising slowly as steam off their joined
skin? These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God. They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio-
vascular health--just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is the
single body alone in the universe
against its own best time.

-- by Robert Lowell

History has to live with what was here,
clutching and close to fumbling all we had--
it is so dull and gruesome how we die,
unlike writing, life never finishes.
Abel was finished; death is not remote,
a flash-in-the-pan electrifies the skeptic,
his cows crowding like skulls against high-voltage wire,
his baby crying all night like a new machine.
As in our Bibles, white-faced, predatory,
the beautiful, mist-drunken hunter's moon ascends--
a child could give it a face: two holes, two holes,
my eyes, my mouth, between them a skull's no-nose--
O there's a terrifying innocence in my face
drenched with the silver salvage of the mornfrost.


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