NOTES TO A YOUNG POET
How about a poem without any birds. Let them fly off to other poems. Let them land on the telephone wires of someone else’s lines. How about we don’t let those men in either. The ones smoking cigarettes outside my door. One says things like: I better get home before fucking six o’clock. And the other says: I don’t know. I’d rather the people in your poem say things that seem sort of deep like: we all live on islands, if you think about it. I’d rather the people say things like: if you don’t know where the fire is, shit just burns down.
No birds. No flowers. I mean, you could say something like: dark like slick black trunks of trees wet with rain. Or: my fiddlehead unfurls, ferns at your touch. Be careful with “unfurls.” Maybe don’t say “unfurls.” You could say words like “homunculus” and “cumulous.” Um, ridiculous. Nevermind. You could say “plink.” Maybe “Pompeii.”
I’d like a poem with a zebra or maybe a zebra that’s a poem which is really any zebra because the lines on their bodies are distinct glyphs like these black letters on this white page and you just have to know how to read it. I’d like a poem with a zipper I can unzip and crawl through. Or maybe just a window that’s open—
Hey you, you, you look like my next ex, a four leaf
clovered lucky lover, charmed future former lover.
I bet you taste like coca-cola in a foreign country:
familiar but better, the same but sweeter.
I bet you’ll bull my china shop heart but it’ll be
good before it gets bad so let’s love like love, love.
I am open: eyed, hearted, minded.
You smile like a simile, reader, lover.
Yes, you’re who I mean. Mean? Never. Kind, blindly
loving, tracing the shapes of our faces with our fingers
in the dark, licking sweet words from each other’s mouths.
Shall we, reader, marry? You say: do you? I say:
I do, I do, I do, do you? You say: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Until you don’t. This is where it turns.
Things are suddenly, subtly (but unmistakably) off like
David Bowie’s eyes. What’s wrong, reader? What’s wrong?
Reader. Did you know bamboo is not a tree? What’s that?
“Bamboo” means “you”? “Tree” means “in love with me”?
You is not? No, no longer? Never was? Call me Miss Miss
then, a(lonely) and longing. Angry? No. The fever’s
broken, the camel’s back’s been broken—an accident
involving the line you drew in the sand. This page is
the desert. Here, here is my line, lover, deserter, fool.
It’s fine. We’re nearing the (inevitable) end.
Drink this. Are you seeing double?
Focus, reader. Yes, both of us.
We are naked, plural, majestic.