2 June 2003 | Vol. 3, No. 2
Poem Beginning with a Line from David Shapiro
I never gave up my love of what I already loved:
The warm white towel, the way a woman
Makes me mad with a kind quiet burning,
The early forgotten poems of my youth,
The late forgotten poems of my middle-age,
The country called "forever" where the blues and greens
Mottle and coalesce, inspiring dreams
Of Spain, of Picasso, of the gritty porn film
We watched together, feeling slight shame
Then great relief that there are people like us,
In different states, cities, principalities.
There are buildings and rivers that look like ours,
There are lips soft enough to collapse into,
And there are sharp-fanged angels who glitter
In the darkness that is always darker when you're gone.
I liked first the words, the language on my tongue
Like a hard dark wafer, the meanings I couldn't
Grasp, the texture, first like corduroy, then sheer
And filmy as silk or rayon. I admired the artificial
In the best and worst senses of the word.
I aspired to be a craftsman, and hoped you
Would be my model, reclining or bending as I desired,
And I knew, deep in my chest, that you would
Neither recline nor bend, but break like a champagne
Flute dropped from my third story window.
I knew you were delicate like a fish's scale,
More translucent than the rain. I knew your meanings
Would always be difficult to discern and I grew
to love the uncertainty that nurtures as it cuts.
About the author:
Anthony Robinson teaches composition and literature courses at the University of Oregon. He's on the staff of the Northwest Review and is Associate Editor of The Canary. His work appears widely in print and on the web.
For further reading:
See the complete list of work by Anthony Robinson at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 3, No. 2, where "Poem Beginning with a Line from David Shapiro" ran on June 2, 2003. List other work with these same labels: poetry.