Lauren (quempel) wrote in adriennerich,

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The Demon Lover

1 Fatigue, regrets. The lights
2 go out in the parking lot
3 two by two. Snow blindness
4 settles over the suburb.
5 Desire. Desire. The nebula
6 opens in space, unseen,
7 your heart utters its great beats
8 in solitude. A new
9 era is coming in.
10 Gauche as we are, it seems
11 we have to play our part.

12 A plaid dress, silk scarf,
13 and eyes that go on stinging.
14 Woman, stand off. The air
15 glistens like silk.
16 She's gone. In her place stands
17 a schoolgirl, morning light,
18 the half-grown bones
19 of innocence. Is she
20 your daughter or your muse,
21 this tree of blondness
22 grown up in a field of thorns?

23 Something piercing and marred.
24 Take note. Look back. When quick
25 the whole northeast went black
26 and prisoners howled and children
27 ran through the night with candles,
28 who stood off motionless
29 side by side while the moon swam up
30 over the drowned houses?
31 Who neither touched nor spoke?

[Page 292 ]

32 whose nape, whose finger-ends
33 nervelessly lied the hours away?

34 A voice presses at me.
35 If I give in it won't
36 be like the girl the bull rode,
37 all Rubens flesh and happy moans.
38 But to be wrestled like a boy
39 with tongue, hips, knees, nerves, brain ...
40 with language?
41 He doesn't know. He's watching
42 breasts under a striped blouse,
43 his bull's head down.
44 The old wine pours again through my veins.

45 Goodnight, then. 'Night. Again
46 we turn our backs and weary
47 weary we let down.
48 Things take us hard, no question.
49 How do you make it, all the way
50 from here to morning? I touch
51 you, made of such nerve
52 and flare and pride and swallowed tears.
53 Go home. Come to bed. The skies
54 look in at us, stern.
55 And this is an old story.

56 I dreamed about the war.
57 We were all sitting at table
58 in a kitchen in Chicago.
59 The radio had just screamed
60 that Illinois was the target.
61 No one felt like leaving,
62 we sat by the open window
63 and talked in the sunset.

[Page 293 ]

64 I'll tell you that joke tomorrow,
65 you said with your saddest smile,
66 if I can remember.

67 The end is just a straw,
68 a feather furling slowly down,
69 floating to light by chance, a breath
70 on the long-loaded scales.
71 Posterity trembles like a leaf
72 and we go on making heirs and heirlooms.
73 The world, we have to make it,
74 my coexistent friend said, leaning
75 back in his cell.
76 Siberia vastly hulks
77 behind him, which he did not make.

78 Oh futile tenderness
79 of touch in a world like this!
80 how much longer, dear child,
81 do you think sex will matter?
82 There might have been a wedding
83 that never was:
84 two creatures sprung free
85 from castiron covenants.
86 Instead our hands and minds
87 erotically waver ...
88 Lightness is unavailing.

89 Catalpas wave and spill
90 their dull strings across this murk of spring.
91 I ache, brilliantly.
92 Only where there is language is there world.
93 In the harp of my hair, compose me
94 a song. Death's in the air,
95 we all know that. Still, for an hour,
96 I'd like to be gay. How could a gay song go?

[Page 294 ]

97 Why that's your secret, and it shall be mine.
98 We are our words, and black and bruised and blue.
99 Under our skins, we're laughing.

100 In triste veritas?
101 Take hold, sweet hands, come on ...
102 Broken!
103 When you falter, all eludes.
104 This is a seasick way,
105 this almost/never touching, this
106 drawing-off, this to-and-fro.
107 Subtlety stalks in your eyes,
108 your tongue knows what it knows.
109 I want your secrets--- I will have them out.
110 Seasick, I drop into the sea.
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