20161224

Joel Chace


Longings (2016)

Having come upon this impossible age,
67, with all the same desires:  for so warm,
quivering flesh; for flurries of strange cities;
for miraculous, heard melodies; for impulses
of finger and pen moving across a page
(though not, anymore, revising much); for small voices
In small hours.  Wet, last day of November.  Dark-Time.
Even now, heart can overflow:  door, field, tree.

*
He kissed away what he thought was her fear. She told him she’d dreamed she drove a wagon, drawn by two horses, white and black, on her grandfather’s hayfields. “But you were crying.” “Yes. I loved those horses, the black as much as the white. And I didn’t want my dream to end.”
*
How is it that the male spider thrums its web for mates? A sentence is a line, or two, sometimes three, or more; they can cross, weave together; they are rays, cords. How is it that someone can pluck a net of language? Loves can be lines that cross, that, at times, are crossed. Each cross is two crossed lines; crosses can appear in lines. Think of these desires, the sentences that cross them all. February-noon stream, line of blue ice. She liked the separate letter blocks more than assembling words.
*
Deeply all around. Canoodling among the stacks: perfume, scent of closed, yellowed pages; slants of dusty light. What’s the town to make of such poetry? Severance play, tenets of disbelief. We thought the ground fog was smoke. Everyone says, “At the end of the day.” And at the end of the day, this has everything to do with love. But where, then, did we go? Did the dew hallucinate us?
*
From the ground come lines that rise and twist into structures of desire. In a rounded corner of this one stands a blond harp. Its strings, between two weightless boards, will tremble and unstraighten.
*
From the back seat, numerous unzippings. She had filled a notebook, one word per line. Quotidien’s enigma. Whining-duet: late summer, midnight locusts and a high pole light blazing over home plate. Feathery. Bemused. Her father taught it, so she got the math. Scarlet. No one can reckon it. I believe, I believe I’m falling. What the humidity says. Belated. Irreducible. Mission. 35 years late, she told the man about her crush. Blue, fine day at the lake, breeze rippling ferns around the cabin. Untimely. Umber. Escalate. Vietnam came and stayed.
*
No gulls lived around us; we settled for crows.
*
Admiringly, she studied him: “You’re a really good liar.”
*
Daystream with its earthly music smear. You, your hair black as wet bark. The long prayed-for rain. Whelming, over a rim of dazzling darkness. Daystreams flow into rivers, into a sea. Can one step twice into the same ocean?
*
Three flocks of sparrows swirled through each other — black through black.
*
Lines can be curved; we mostly don’t see light, just colors.
*
Lovers make two undertows; spouses make five. Near this lake’s bottom lies a corridor made of thicker water. A woman stands at one end; at the other, a man. Each begins walking, but just within sight of each other, the tunnel trembles, then clears. Once again, the woman, the man move forward, forward.
*
Sun’s cradle; autumn’s face: we two lay on the immense, white rock. Moon’s phrases; winter’s sigh: remnants of gentlings. They flooded the town pool for skaters. Heart all trussed up.
*
Stages ago: incremental music, sets, cues, queues, lines, lines.
*
We both noticed, at the same moment it seemed, sun behind it, a long leaf pine glowing, glowing orange; then realized, it seemed at the same moment, that we were seeing — through the evergreen’s needles, branches — foliage of an autumn sugar maple. O, moribund, sunlit leaves behind dark branches.
*
O, don’t we all become architects of longing?
*
Yards beyond the window, a wall, yellow, curiously bright and solid, the rest of the structure falling in on itself. After love-making, we, in your parents’ bed (there? — it seemed so right), watched, on each other’s skin, golden slants sent back through the pane.
*
She giggled, “Nobody can walk on a bay!” Fall evening scent on your kissed neck, again and again. How is it that so many dreams go back to high school? He wanted her to have been in his same math class, or history.
*
That novel’s first sentence gasps (gasped) through an arctic air. Least he could do was to pick clumps of snow from her dark hair. What season doesn’t have its share of songs, limned, in lines.
*
Lines can go vertical — aspire. Sentences can edge arches, buttresses, towers — fly. He asked, “You Really want me to?” She said, “Only if you wish.”
*
Through sodden soil, a foot or so apart, rise two thick, parallel, wooden studs, daily extending themselves. No angels. Rungs of air, of human sounds: nearest ground — screams, stammerings, laughs; then insults, pleas, professions, regrets; until, in the cloudy realms, prayers, poetic lines, death-gargles. Angels — no.
*
We drove out into the night, our great protectress.



 
 
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