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.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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