That for a single moment most things are designed
to gain perfection only to die out,
reflects the will of both the world and Einstein.
And that people are like leaves that sprout
under pollution filling every sky
and within the memory they fade alike
is guaranteed by time, which I detect
clutching me by the scruff of the neck.
Therefore at my wits’ end I’m called
upon at one moment to laud
the fact I see you on display,
your young magic as not seen before,
a naked monument that unpunished falls
forward, toppling before my gaze.
If in the occident there’s nothing new
just what’s been there from the word go,
what can I then invent that, wrongly too,
some infant has not thought of long ago?
Etruscan, Aztec and Hellenic - as such
you’re pinned as postcards on the wall and hung -
ogling, for sale and worshipped far too much,
my centuries-old shrew forever young.
How would the antique world react
to you body’s present miracle?
Keep on believing that no instant will
ever generate unless the memory’s intact?
The old rogues simple were unable
to handle your self-containment - nor do I still.
I thought (a dog’s my frequent guise):
I’ll wait until the wintertime is here,
that can etch lines around her mouth at a trice,
or until cunning spring that envies her
and ploughs deep furrows in her skin’s fine field,
and then she’ll be like I am, marred at best.
Suddenly though this autumn was here, its yield
bewildering and blessed
like my late love and you remain unscathed,
my love. I dare to state my creed
that my coldness will never be your death,
that you will never leave me, dazed
by my deep-freeze breath
I believe so. As do corpses that still bleed.
What you desire, what you refuse, what you may be,
assumes the many shadowy strange curves
of a stranger in my tent and she
has a horrible effect on my nerves,
the inextricable merry widow, she looks
like all her shadows shown on spec.
Do you give me too the selfsame looks?
Aggrieved I learn I look just like your ex.
My metaphors are where I then take flight.
Shadows that rhyme, for me that’s cushy.
Rhetorically, for example: that you taste of spring grass,
or illogically: that you bend like wheat,
or typically: that of late your upper lip was
as lewd as the down of your pussy.
Saw a steaming grey that stood there damp
when the sky sucked water from its mane.
Saw a black cloud lick a rainbow clean.
Saw flamingos, flying dogs, starvation camps.
Saw only yesterday how undefiled
though spattered by sunlight the wet lawn gleamed,
it was as if, it could just be, it seemed
to be be the iris of your eyes, now multiplied,
and I forgot all space, all speech, all text,
And at a phantom insect I lashed out
as at your image.
Since you my gaze is quite bewitched,
Even more shattering have I brought about
and mended not one fragment of the damage.
Crowing under the shower only over you.
My common sense for once not acting daft.
Suddenly, in mid-handstand, I just knew
that you are my homogeneous better half
and that we therefore, quite serene,
would do much better living far apart.
It sounds quite common, possibly obscene,
but only then can I give you your part.
Absence would only start to gnaw me through
if I were not to think of you as of a one
that brings together all my abaci.
Therefore I honour distance and the night alone,
for only so can I make of your one a two,
living with two desires unsatisfied.
That I love my own ego far too much, well sure, all right,
and that it is a sin to taint your soul this way
and that it is an illness which, day and night,
lays waste the ego till it wants to die?
Okay, so what? A mirror as my measure
may I then dance till all my notes are known?
I’ve realised too late and with no pleasure
that I’m long-sighted and I own
that’s why I’ve never managed properly
to master my defeat at every turn.
Besides, that’s what I decide for you,
specially when blindly riding you.
Only what you would seek to read in me
will I still learn.
Just now my stomach clenched with spite
and I don’t know, by God, why I feel so.
Don’t lie, mate. It was only something trite
and it’s envy that controls your glands, too.
‘Why, for example, is William rich and why
does Francis have those sea-green eyes of his
and why is John Disaster always right
and why must I put all with all of this?
Love, tell me that I need not get het up
and make of wretchedness such heavy weather,
that I must sing, feel free as a lark,
each morning of our blazing time together
when, between the sheets, we’re both set up
after the cries, yawns, sobbings in the dark.
Once more alone in my nest, badly worn,
She lies reviving with that other man, it seems.
I travel in my head, in all the corn
and chaff of my dreams.
My dreams drag themselves forward on their knees.
They mill-sail towards her
like hordes of blind men on their skis,
they make so many blunders, such disorder
that there her shadow starts to gleam.
Like amber. Like the grey dawn
she makes the black unblack
and I cannot calm down, I claw
towards the bright spot of her heart, back
towards that light that simply will not dim.
Freedom’s your game? Forget it, lady,
you’ve got no talent for it, no antenna,
you have no wish for freedom’s real gehenna,
nor for its pain, nor for the remedy.
Don’t lose yourself in the monotone
of sleep indifferent to sleeping,
in fiddling at that erogenous zone
that keeps on flowing and gaping.
Pretend instead in fetters you’re restrained
and after screwing whisper about being free,
blame me as the one who is enslaving
and let me be deluded, let me be,
tumbling in your moon-struck raving
in one contentment tightly chained.
And when the little copper kettle full
of the ashes I once was is emptied out
over the patient grass, my beautiful,
don’t stand and fool about
and wipe the mascara from your cheeks.
Think of the fingers which once wrote these lines
when our longing was at its peak
and which stroked you when they were still alive.
And laugh at what I was - recalling then
the cinema and that snoring spate,
the pants that always used to sag,
the feeble joke and lumbering gait
towards you time and time again
when I’d your now warm lushness in the bag.
Years ago I was able to dream
(oh infantile, prophetic soul)
of things as yet unseen,
fatal as the invention of the wheel.
Now the world is mortal just like me,
and that’s the end of it.
I get a kick from all uncertainty,
I don’t believe a shit.
Dreams I chase up to the attic
where the stupid children live.
I’m lying. There’s still one folly as lunatic
for which in this pious sonnet
I provide a narrative -
one last demon with my name on it.