Before Chicky and I begin posting the poems that made the baby-us want to write, let me quickly post this new find of mine: Michael Morse with lines like "the somehow of love" that make me feel like a baby-me all over again. Plus it's written for Larry Levis--beloved and so-missed.
for Larry Levis
When I read in bed, the book above me
held high, arm extended, I hold
the top right corner with my left hand
and let the finished pages rest on my forearm—
as if I’m denying the rays of a small sun
or keeping the printed word at bay.
It’s Chekovian, how everything descends,
the protagonists, their stars and their sun.
This morning it’s my friend; I haven’t learned
to say his name in death—what he left
was ink on a page, and I think of him
as a small tuberculin boy spitting up rubies,
as what his body couldn’t keep it expelled,
the way coal works the snow crystal-by-crystal,
the way blood slowly fills a landscape called lung,
slow and persistent like language on a page
held above the head and kept at bay.
It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m reading in bed.
I’m with my lover and we’re breaking up
although neither of us knows it yet—
I am reading and she is sleeping.
The book is still above me but I’m gone
(prescience disguised in a cloak of daydream):
I’m at my lover’s apartment years later
and I’m holding her baby, not mine and yet
a ruby of my making, my ambivalence.
The somehow of love is someone remembered,
my teacher, my lover, my page of night sky
all jeweled with ancient and dimming stars.
I can read and not possess what’s done,
the so-small window of a text celestial:
morning comes all clock-tick and sparrow-chatter,
and the dawn turns to starch just waiting for ink.
The books are by the bed, and they are dead and ready.
Copyright © Michael Morse