I have something to tell you.
I'm sorry to hear.
I'm growing old.
It is. I thought you should know
of course and I'm sorry. Keep in touch.
I will and you too.
And let know what's new.
Certainly, though it can't be much.
And stay well.
And you too.
And go slow.
And you too.
It's midnight, the house silent,
in the distance a musical instrument
being played softly. I am alone.
It's as if the world has come to an end
on a low musical note.
Here in Bed
Here in bed behind a brick wall
I can make order and meaning,
but how do I begin? How do I
emerge without panic
to the sounds and mass
of people in the street?
Are they human who stare
as I pass by, as if sizing me up
for a mugging or a filthy proposition,
and am I human to have to be
frightened and on guard?
It's people I'm afraid of, afraid
of my own kind, knowing their angers
and schemes and violent needs, knowing
through knowledge of myself
that I have learned to resist,
but when I can't I have seen
the havoc I have made.
It's this, knowing their desperate motives,
as I have known mine, I'm afraid of
in them. I hide upon a bed
behind a brick wall and listen
to engines roaring up and down
the street and to voices shouting
to one another and find no meaning
or order in them, as there is none
in me when I am free of self-restraint.
The bed is my victory over fear.
The bed returns me to my self
as I was young and dreaming
of the beauty of the trees
and faces of people.
We drop in the evening like dew
upon the ground and the living
feel it on their faces. Death
soft, moist everywhere upon us,
soon to cover the living
as they drop. This explains
the ocean and the sun.
Wherever he looks, standing still in the city,
are people born of coupling, walking in gray suits
and ties, in long dresses and coiffed hair,
speaking elegantly, of themselves and of each other,
forgetting for the moment their origin,
perhaps wishing not to know or to remember.
They dress as if having been born in a clothing store.
They were born of men and women naked
and gyrating from the hips
and with movements up and down
and with climactic yells,
as if losing their lives
in the pleasure and so glad,
so wildly glad.
From this rises the child
from between the wet crotch, blood and mucus,
He stands upright and pronounces himself
humankind and steps from bed and clothes himself
in a gray suit and from the next room of birth
steps a woman in a long dress. They meet
in the corridor and arm in arm walk its length
in search of one room, empty of inhabitants
but prepared for them.
She was saying mad things:
"To hell with the world!
Love is all you need! Go on
and get it! What are you
waiting for!" and she walked,
more like shuffled up the street,
her eyes fixed upon the distance.
People stepped self-consciously
out of her way. Straight up
stood her hair, wild.
What are you waiting for,
snarled from her lips.
it seemed directed to herself
really, to someone inside
with whom she fought.
The shredded hem of her dress
rustled around her.
Late in 1962 New York newspapers reported the story of a nine-year-I draw near to the roof's edge
old child being raped on a roof, and hurled twenty stories to the
and seek someone to lift
and hurl me out into vacant air.
I want to turn over and over
rapidly in my plunge, my mouth
open to scream but air rushing
upwards jams my throat.
I am seeking the peace
I never once gave up on
and this is the final way to find it. The living
share me among them. They taste
me on the ground, they taste me
in the air descending. They taste
me screaming, nine years old.
I have playmates
and I leave behind my skull
in their dreams, hands to mouths.
It is because they have no help,
as if to hint to them the way,
if they would understand.
When we played it was to love each other
in games. Play again and love me
until I really die, when you are old
on a flight of stairs.
Earth hard to my heels
bear me up like a child
standing on its mother's belly.
I am a surprised guest to the air