YOUR FATHER WAS A MAN'S MAN
Fridays after lunch, he would drive to the cape with Andy
to smoke cigars and shoot pistols through the water.
He was what we called a man's man:
graceful only in the way he stalked
the thrust of engines' carbon spew,
or pointed a rifle seeking a heart,
a head, a lung, or empty bottle.
Whiskey was all he'd take.
No sugared sidecar prissy
girl-drink ever passed his lips.
Every morning bacon, eggs,
buckwheat cakes, and sausage,
horseradish, toast, kippers, and coffee.
By his own estimate, mostly an American:
loud, egotistic, demanding.
Neither supple nor clumsy,
his body re-defined space like an extra wall.
Women offered themselves to him:
trembling, giggling, ribald sacrifices
to be flattened and hung on his cheeks like trophies.
He would laugh his big laughs and drink with them
early weekday evenings in a furnished East Side flat,
where doorman knew him as, "Mr. Smith. Big tipper."
I never asked why things changed after you were born.
Or why the roses. Two dozen a week.
One dozen for me. One for the girl.
I paid the bills and smiled without fail when he came home.
THE CHOREOGRAPHERS' LOGIC
one moves straight across the floor
or one does not.
either one is attached to the earth
or one leaps.
one is upright, supine,
or one crouches.
one touches another
or one is alone.
one moves or is at rest.
one moves with rhythm
or against it.
one makes noise or is silent.
one illustrates or abstracts.
one is hard or one is soft.
one is beautiful
one is not.
THE LIGHT, THE WIND, THE SEA AIR, HEALING
- - for JH
The seaside presses its leg into mine;
sits too close beside me on the bench,
its stare direct and searching;
digs an elbow deep in my thigh;
hurts like the sun too strong in an eye.
Sea air is composed of hydrogen and desire;
smiles like sunrise crescent's opal clouds;
catches a nipple between a finger and a thumb;
argues with my skin for possession of sweat;
casts its net toward the other ocean of my womb;
attaches itself to my corners, and there spins webs;
handles me like dough and morning dreams;
calls my name against the wind, and I come.
Tides crawl beneath my underarms like Summer;
skip like schoolgirls down the boardwalk of my back;
stick to my veins like butter--a persistent and gradual
process of building this rhythm in my bones;
find a place by my side in the receding dark
where they take me time, and time, and time.
Wind's arm across my buttock--unrelenting--
measures my breathing, almost under control;
its humid salts upon my lips, tongue and teeth.
You rearrange the sand around me;
lick my ears with the hiss of your feet;
make me turn and open. Open fully to your kiss.
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