We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of raccoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within that body.
We find out the heart only by dismantling what
I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.
I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.
Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.
In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.
— Pablo Neruda
Some men break your heart in two…
—Dorothy Parker, ”Experience”
Some men carry you to bed with your boots on.
Some men say your name like a verbal tic.
Some men slap on an emotional surcharge for every erotic encounter.
Some men are slightly mentally ill, and thinking of joining a gym.
Some men have moved on and can’t be seduced, even in the dream bars you meet them in.
Some men who were younger are now the age you were then.
Some men aren’t content with mere breakage, they’ve got to burn you to the ground.
Some men you’ve reduced to ashes are finally dusting themselves off.
Some men are made of fiberglass.
Some men have deep holes drilled in by war, you can’t fill them.
Some men are delicate and torn.
Some men will steal your bracelet if you let them spend the night.
Some men will want to fuck your poems, and instead they find you.
Some men will say, “I’d like to see how you look when you come,” and then hail a cab.
Some men are a list of ingredients with no recipe.
Some men never see you.
Some men will blindfold you during sex, then secretly put on heels.
Some men will try on your black fishnet stockings in a hotel in Rome, or Saran Wrap you
to a bedpost in New Orleans.
Some of these men will be worth trying to keep.
Some men will write smugly condescending reviews of you work, making you remember
these lines by Frank O’hara:
I cannot possibly think of you/other than you: the assassin/of my orchards.
Some men, let’s face it, really are too small.
Some men are too large, but it’s not usually a deal breaker.
Some men don’t have one at all.
Some men will slap you in a way you’ll like.
Some men will want to crawl inside you to die.
Some men never clean up the matter.
Some men hand you their hearts like leaflets
and some men’s hearts seem to circle forever: you catch sight of them on clear nights,
bright dots among the stars, and wait for their orbits to decay, for them to fall to earth.
I want to see you.
Know your voice.
Recognize you when you
first come ‘round the corner.
Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.
Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.
Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.
I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn’t
me, it was love for you that set me
and isn’t it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
bear the fruit of screaming. Put out your hand,
an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside
the bed? And someone you love enters the room
and says wouldn’t
you like the eggs a little
And when they arrive they are
just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather
— For Grace, After A Party - Frank O’Hara
when you break thru
a poet here
not quite what one would choose.
I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted
but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart
— Diane DiPrima, SONG FOR BABY-O, UNBORN
dusty piece of china
out of the barrel.
It was your gravy boat,
with a hard, brown
drop of gravy still
on the porcelain lip.
I grieved for you then
as I never had before."
— Jane Kenyon, What Came to Me
wrap your arms around your own body
and from the back it looks like
someone is embracing you
her hands grasping your shirt
her fingernails teasing your neck
from the front it is another story
you never looked so alone
your crossed elbows and screwy grin
you could be waiting for a tailor
to fit you with a straight jacket
one that would hold you really tight."
— Billy Collins, Embrace
— Frank O’Hara
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky
— E.E. Cummings, love is more thicker than forget
God, I have not forgotten you
For sending all my children into your old ice boxes.
I remember that goat
You let them follow with a compass,
Those wooden wheels you let them roll
And break their first silence on.
I watched those beautiful kites you let them glide,
Their hearts all balls of string.
When they were young and unfucked
And old friends with the moon
Spreading its cream over their lips
As they slept, you came in
The window with the light
Like a cat on their necks.
When you want, the dark honey
Of their breath you store
In the catacombs of your lungs.
Alone and licked, their dreams
All rat-bitten and full of fever,
They remember your words,
Droppings on the white sheets.
Where are the dead?
In my arms, their panties pulled high,
Their eyes and teeth all small and even.
I remember your sadness, too.
A pan of wash water.
I threw it out in the chicken yard each evening.
I wanted my love to be an orchard,
Rows of thornless berries.
I wanted my love
To be death for the suffering.
Like you, I knew a woman once.
She was carrying a child.
One night she cut it
Out like a vine
With her husband’s razor.
I didn’t want you
To forget my love
Is a dark and rotten fruit on the ground,
A deathbed for your dreams,
And I don’t know you, now,
Your sadness or your mark
On everything we bury.
— Frank Stanford, A Woman Driving A Stake Into the Ground At Midnight
whose eyes to compare
with the morning sun?
Not that I did compare,
But I do compare
Now that she’s gone."
— Leonard Cohen, For Anne
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine."
— Mary Oliver, (an excerpt from her poem “Wild Geese”)
miles and brought
— Jack Kerouac