It's spring and all, y'all.
All seed-turning, earth-warming, restless, naked-legged, sneezing, seething spring. Spring cleaning is happening -- from the rainswept pollen to finally throwing away those concert tickets from 1998 to kicking one tiny habit of regret about that thing that's bothered you for a while. The wind mimics what you know, everything needs to move - now. "Desire animates the world." - William Irvine.
You can feel it, see it happening, the mating dance of everything, a song will bring it back, that magnetic pull of you to that other One, cellular, singular, as loud and personal as a heartbeat. Courtship, call and response, push and pull. The alternate universes of possibility. Want, have, had, rinse, repeat.
I've been rooting through old papers and digital detritus. I found this prose poem from around 2007 which fits for the season, the feeling. So much has changed, thank goodness, primarily how much of life is lived in living instead of dreaming. I know what it's like now to have Someone who will listen to that first draft.
But this poem is a back-then meditation on topics and questions I still think about- about the relationships between love and desire, longing and having, idealization and realization. How those questions relate to creativity and the making of things, the making of a life. I doubt any resolution on these will come - which is probably a good thing. Here's the poem:
If Because Instead
If you hadn’t worn blackbird song around your head, I would have been fine alone. But you came in March when I am tender with memory. (You said you knew I was a March baby because my fine hair moved in the stillest air, conjuring wind.)
You approached in the twilight, when I was squinting toward the trees and their bare arms blurred with leaf buds. You spoke your name and the grackles and starlings exploded into the sky, a black lace sheet snapped by invisible hands. The squealing bird-racket and dimming light coalesced into this thought: my favorite face.
“But you love all faces,” you teased later. “You are like a baby, searching each one for home.”
You offered to cook for me, thin Thai soup full of coconut milk and fire. I choked and coughed in happy, grateful pain. You hit my back with tender aggression. That was the first time you touched me. Because of this, any time I watch you spank a new pack of cigarettes, I remember and my breath comes easier.
* * *
That never happened, not in the actual world. But it flickers in the cave-shadow of my unlived lives. You are in the secret society of lovers untaken due to circumstance, previous engagements, fear, or crossed desires. A group so select, some members are unaware of their enrollment.
* * *
Everything depends upon if and unless. I craft desire out of cannot and because.
* * *
A drafty, acid-yellow farm house squats next to a creek about twenty miles away. A covered bridge straddles the creek. My husband showed it to me shortly after I asked for the divorce. We had lived there for months, unaware of the hollow room that sat over the glass-bright water. We walked in and I peeked through the boards out onto the shining water and air. I cried in shame at the gift, at the fear that it was an omen to stay.
* * *
In that house, if you are very still during the greening light of March, you can see it, the phantom of the life I imagined with you (this phantom depends upon instead). Watch, we are sharing coffee in bed, hoarding warmth in our twined limbs. The wind catches and whines in the old cedar. We laugh at its haunted-house moans. After breakfast, we walk down to the creek. I bring something new I have written to read aloud. We will judge how it bounces between the walls of the bridge. “It is about how we met,” I say. I begin: “If you hadn’t worn blackbird-song around your head, I would have been fine alone.”
See also: Octavio Paz's "The Double Flame", the movie "Holy Motors" (which prompted a namesake poem I may put up later if it remains homeless), songs by Tom Waits. Let's just all enjoy the dance between have and want and celebrate when they coincide. Now, dip me!
Back home, the name of a road that crosses a railroad track. Here, a place to keep my verbal play-pretties and whatnot.