Tuesday Afternoon Reverie

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When life takes your hand to enter its torture chamber, let it be. Let it crush your particles it wants to crush. Let them die as their death marks the birth of those pink water lilies just outside your window.

If you are lucky — as lucky as I — I will take you inside and watch the water lilies grow, die, and grow again, playing our love recital.

3: 10 to the Dance Floor (Murder by a Pen)

The pen that’s deadly – I’ve used it to kill a handful of names

All men that once mattered, one or two with haunting ghosts

I put each name every time my heart could not contain
Names – sometimes initials – that becameΒ uncontrollably wild
The pen was not any of those men’s genital; it was always mine
A psychic lady told me not to put a man’s name in writing
For my own welfare, she said, else someone was betraying
The pen killed the names, one after another, sometimes altogether
Stay away from the tip of my pen, stop swaying and swirling!
Am I in love with you? How is it from the perspective of illusion?
You’re young, lean, soft-voiced, and that comforting dark past
Now you’re standing still, smiling. I know what’s behind your back

Infatuation

I accepted your offer to infuse myself with a cup of trivial joy
And with bites of of finger cookies left from last Halloween
Our souls embraced each other like a fly trapped in a spider web
I licked your youthful charm on the brim of my glass
You giggled, showing off your dimples; clothes wet but intact
And from your mouth, another proposition for another day

Aunt Lettuce, I want to peek under…

Charles Simic is one of my favorite poets. The reason is so obvious: his poetry is simple, yet unpredictable; it tends to use everyday words – very efficient and unromantic – but at the same time, what it reveals is unprecedented. Here’s an example:

Hotel Insomnia

I liked my little hole,
Its window facing a brick wall.
Next door there was a piano.
A few evenings a month
a crippled old man came to play
“My Blue Heaven.”
Mostly, though, it was quiet.
Each room with its spider in heavy overcoat
Catching his fly with a web
Of cigarette smoke and revery.

So dark,
I could not see my face in the shaving mirror.
At 5 A.M. the sound of bare feet upstairs.
The “Gypsy” fortuneteller,
Whose storefront is on the corner,
Going to pee after a night of love.
Once, too, the sound of a child sobbing.
So near it was, I thought
For a moment, I was sobbing myself.

Yesterday, my colleagues and I made a joke using one of Simic’s poems Aunt Lettuce, I want to peek under your skirt. Mr. O managed to recreate something out of it: “Aunt Lettuce, I make the girls lift their skirts for me to peek…” I said to him, in that case, I would remember wearing a skirt next time. Aunt Lettuce, I want to peek under my own skirt. Ha!