Glowing in the Afterhurt

Once I gilted lilies
in the hope of yet in spite and
even though and still because of it
there wasn’t much of either then
(things unknown after this now, like
lips surrounding ashless breathing,
hands that seemed to fit too closely,
wanting but the need to truth
was what the why could not dissemble).

There upon the killing floor, where
something reading Phoenix papers
lost itself in time’s fluxation,
two hands grasped for fallen control.

He who I am not could say in nothing
more than clever verse, which is not all
there is so purified in this
that my corruption cannot alter.

Once I gilted lilies
in the hope of yet in spite and
even though and never thought it would
was weak when once the moments tendered
(things unknown until this now, like
lips surrendered barely breathing,
hands that seemed to know your beauty,
knowing but the need for truth
was what the way could not discover).

There upon the killing floor, where
something, almost my religion,
lost itself in time’s mad frustration,
two hands parted once in anguish.

I who am not he who could would ought
to be so good for you can say nothing
you find worth embracing; but, if anything
remains when other princes fall,
promise me what almost never happened.

Spring 1994

A note from 2005: An email from an old friend in Memphis got me thinking about the time I spent there, the places I haunted and the people to whom I gave a piece or two of my heart. This poem was written during that time, after an evening spent with someone (who knows who they are) during which certain things happened, and other things did not, neither set of which is good or bad, nor prevented or encouraged the rest of our lives from continuing, albeit along separate roads. It is a poem of might-have-beens that in retrospect might be just-as-wells. A poem of things I should have been able to say, but was unable to cut from their crazy poetic metaphor except to speak in Imagist parables. What we had, were deluded into thinking we did or did not have, or might have had … well, that is another lifetime’s story. You know who you are. Without your inspiration, it’s doubtful that I would have been a poet in Memphis … and now, I find myself a poet no matter where I go. Part of me that I recognize to be my true self I discovered in the process of trying to be part of your life. Thank you. I wish you nothing but happiness.

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