Thursday, August 04, 2005

Poems to Swoon For

A busy day over on the Say Something Wonderful Poetry Forum. Dead animal poems piling up like roadkill on a summer freeway: James Still, Gerald Stern, William Stafford, Robinson Jeffers... Finally this email from D--: "Ok, Eric. Let's not talk of dead animals & help me with my distaste for romantic love poetry. I enjoyed Neruda--share with me what you'll teach in your romance class."

In my usual tonedeaf professorial fashion, I fired off a version of my opening lecture on erotic and companionate traditions of love--a standby in several classes by now--and only then rethought the actual request. What I'll teach in my romance class? Like, the one on romance novels? Hmmm... What AM I going to teach in that class, anyway?

Tomorrow, then, before I put my blogs on hiatus, I'll post the syllabus (so far) of my romance class. For now, the poem I posted to D by way of an apology: a Poem to Swoon For. Any more out there you like?


What is it when your man sits on the floor
in sweatpants, his latest project
set out in front of him like a small world, maps
and photographs, diagrams and plans, everything
he hopes to build, invent or create,
and you believe in him as you always have,
even after the failures, even more now
as you set your coffee down
and move toward him, to where he sits
oblivious of you, concentrating
in a square of sun --
you step over the rulers and blue graph-paper
to squat behind him, and he barely notices,
though you're still in your robe
which falls open a little as you reach
around his chest, feel for the pink
wheel of each nipple, the slow beat
of his heart, your ear pressed to his back
to listen -- and you are torn,
not wanting to interrupt his work
but unable to keep your fingers
from dipping into the ditch in his pants,
torn again with tenderness
for the way his flesh grows unwillingly
toward your curved palm, toward the light,
as if you had planted it, this sweet root,
your mouth already an echo of its shape --
you slip your tongue into his ear
and he hears you, calling him away
from his work, the angled lines of his thoughts,
into the shapeless place you are bound
to take him, over bridges of bone, beyond
borders of skin, climbing over him
into the world of the body, its labyrinth
of ladders and stairs -- and you love
like the first time you loved him,
with equal measures of expectancy
and fear and awe, taking him with you
into the soft geometry of the flesh, the earth
before its sidewalks and cities,
its glistening spires,
stealing him back from the world he loves
into this other world he cannot build without you.

1 comment:

suzanne said...

the wonderful poet
of this poem?!!!!!!