Walking through the art gallery,
she frequently pauses to look
at paintings of couples in a bar
or a cafe, engaged in conversation.
I tell her they seem sad, as though
whatever romance they had
has waned, they having grown
apart, this a parting of sorts.
She laughs and says that I mistake
wistfulness for sadness, men
so often do, and adds they are
lovers falling ever deeper in.
She takes my hand gently, with
a look I might have deemed sad,
but knowing better. I realize
that I, too, am continuing my fall.
It is seven in the morning
Antwerp arises slowing in winter
the small bar along seldom
used quays of Schelde
is almost empty, one old man
tottering on his stool
swaying to breath
head pressed on the counter.
Young couple, she brown haired
pale white skin against white
sweater, he long blond
woven into a ponytail
draped over the faded
entwined in his, they stared
now, again sipping , she
Stella Artois, he Duvel.
He would paint,
when there was light
and when not, his fingers
would play across her belly
her breasts and mons
as they had in darkness
slowly receding, touching
canvas mind filling
with images cast in oils,
she would cast words
as ancient runes, telling
of times gone, to come,
and in night he would rise
into her, interlocked
sweat running across
his chest, pooling
in his navel.
his lips, sucked her finger
and put match
to cigarette, drawing
deeply of the morning
carried on river breezes.
First Appeared in Coffee and Chicory, Vol. 5, 1997.
You say you appreciate occasional
gifts of symbols of love.
You expect me to bring you a rose
it’s satin petals gently curling
back at the edges, always
threatening to suddenly unfold,
alluring, drawing in the eye
promising warmth and release.
I bring you an onion, wrapped tightly,
it’s papered skin, the luminescence
threatening to break out but always
just one more layer down.
I help you peel back a layer,
it comes off reluctantly, as if
letting go of this secret
could be painful or exposing.
We, both of us, shed tears
and I wipe yours with the edge
of my thumb, you watch mine
roll down my cheek and hang
perilously on the edge of my jaw.
I bring you an onion and peel it
slowly, I lift the bit to your lips.
It is sweeter than you anticipated
but still it has a fierceness
that borders on passion,
and it will cling to your lips
long after this moment
has faded into memory.
We awaken and look at each other
as though we are meeting for the first time.
Your eyes seem new to me, but well
remembered, a place I have often been,
which is always new, always where
I want to go, from which
I want to never return.
I trace your chin, your shoulder-blade,
and my fingertip knows its way,
finding anew what it desires, this
day like every other, unlike any other.
We soon, too soon most days, arise
and begin a day that is so much
like the one before it, and before it,
and totally different, but our love
is an unwavering constant, a thread
that easily spans both space and time.
In the night
there are no demons,
just the sound
of your breathing,
and your soft touch
on my back,
your foot against