open letter to anyone writing about love
Please stop it with the love.
It’s tired and warped, and it aches
in its bones. Give it a rest.
Give me, instead, more women
with wooden legs and donkey carts
teetering up the path from the canyon.
Give me nitroglycerin suspended
by rubber cables in the back
of the wagon. And if the driver really must kiss
the Marshall’s daughter, give me a rock
on the path up ahead for which
only she thinks to look.
As he leans in to inhale
the strawberry and road dust
in her hair, let her tell him to
pay fucking attention, jackass
as she shoves at the rock
with her one good leg.
This poem is not about you and I will prove it by leaving
out everything that has come to mean you when a blank
page asks me, again, to explain. That means no embraces
with open palms at the curve of my back, no eyes looking
away, no bones, no tongues. In this poem I will not say
any of the words you have left in my mouth. I will not say mouth.
There will be no symbols of luck or bad timing, no fond memories
bearing down like trains. There will be no trains. No crumbling
buildings, no explosions, no fire and nothing to burn.
Whatever happens here will not happen at sunset
or under a full moon, half moon, waning moon,
or new moon. It will be a daytime poem---say, lunchtime---
and sunny. Obviously, I cannot allow it to rain.
Since I cannot mention bones, the only living
thing in this poem will have to be invertebrate
and, now that I think of it, nonpoisonous.
An innocent, but not one so short-lived as to be poignant.
A butterfly will do, if she comes not searching
for her like and having recently eaten. This poem will not endure
hunger of any kind. Likewise, it will not give away her color
for fear of setting a mood. Lucky thing, she takes only nectar,
because I am out of both whisky and wine.
Lucky, too, that I have written you already as a siren
and a crime. So fear not for the butterfly.
This time, she will be fine.