November 11, 2011

I get a buzz from being cold and wet
The pleasure seems to balance out the pain

Ernst Fuchs, 1955. This photograph of a painted figure wearing a felt headdress was one of the artist’s early attempts at approximating a peyote experience.

Between Aging and Old
-- by Jack Gilbert

I wake up like a stray dog
belonging to no one.
Cold, cold, and the rain.
Friendships outgrown or ruined.
And love, dear God, the women
I have loved now only names
Remembered: dead, lost, or old.
Mildness more and more the danger.
Living among rocks and weeds to guard against wisdom.
Alone with the heart howling
and refusing to let it feed on
mere affection. Lying in the dark,
singing about the intractable
kinds of happiness.

-- by Anne Sexton

Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.

Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.


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