The Book of Love
With the lights dimmed low, the time is now
and prophets, blind, grip the mic
with both hands, and pour the waves
into the crowds, windblown from the noise;
they are the Poets now, I’m still in love,
deeper in the sultry bar, there we were,
abandoned of the nightly flows of songbirds
to liquor to flask, all that silence
talking with your jazzy coat and
shoes to match. Walk us through the park
and melt under the snowfall, like an end of days
to come, for the winter never lasts with
smoke curls—hair, lashes, toes, tongue—
a steamy, slurring switch of clothes,
next into darkness, next hole, next club,
flashing like the rest before a lick
of blue-eyed soul presses round the ear,
shivers down the neck and freezes
all but breath, quickly taken
like the heart in this downtown spot.
Yes, music revived, reprise, reprise,
so good to be—lit, a choice between
dead and live, breathing slow
and loving long over the twinkle
sent from Heaven above into each
sparkling window; here, the many
imbibe these dreams in thirsty sips
from blissful horns of bygone days,
lifting spirits to an altar where
we wish for sacrifice—to be thrown
and fall, flourishingly define
the measures of success and the smallest,
intricate treatise of fame and human design,
down before the lights, with Bacchus-Dionysus,
the very seed of ruckus grows within us,
speeding forth to watch the impact
of this, that, the next every time
Manhattan, festered in beauty,
lingers by its promises,
banking on the island’s edge.
My Gift, it is to see
whatever there may be within your desires
for me to realize. My Penance, it is to gift
whatever there is until no more
invisibly suffers the weights of sobriety.
There were nights, hours swirling into blinks,
troubled water tears, and a quick smile to say
You’re My Star
Movie dazzle on, switch
those gray-rimmed blades to the stage,
the show will soon begin.
Something’s calling in the air,
sweeping through the alleys where
I roughly push you against the wall
for a kiss, and a moment alone
to forget the scenes before and after;
there, we have our time, for its instant,
the roar and lights rise ever louder:
tastes like freedom to infect
the passersby, blooming in moonlit vines,
their paths to entrance lines and elderflower wine.
Isolation, from these crowds,
is born before the open sky,
though we may be soothed to find
at this depth, there are no crimes
without minds to prosecute them,
notably in love, with forgiveness,
absolution splitting right from wrong,
all these flavors, sweetly cased in form,
wild, and predictable, all in one,
this is what science has wrought.
Deeper still, underground, there the hours
flow and we carry all the night
Oh, and we danced, and ha, we laughed,
peered over the platform edge—
into slimy pools, reflections of those
Whose liquor would hold no longer
Always checking never helps
With the shifting
Rats astir at Astor
Slipping in and by
Always beware an empty car
In the middle
Of the otherwise
Cranks from the track, on the other side
There it goes, the uptown train—
but oh, I thought, and then? we
Yes, good We could go
Far: press my knees into the back
Of yours, and hold, with hands,
A surge of slumber to herald night’s end
If you can blaze the trail—straight from nose to brain—hit it
Right, find that spot, set it off—my, that’s lovely,
Holding the future in a wisp between your thumbs,
And blow. Up, up, and away we go! No?
Over, down, and under, well, aren’t you lovely when I’m drunk.
Lights are low, let’s dip for a bit, and order me a scotch,
Single-malt, rippling, fiery purge of luck be damned;
From here, the drinks, no chance, our Fates demand.
When you’re not there, the silence fills me with the calm of missing you.
And so, I’ll stroke the keys because I don’t know what to say
This is how it’s done, with words, for guys like me, oh, babe.
Pushed into a cab and carried off, slumped and a hot cheek away
From the dewy morning air, the waxing pinks and greys, and fading
Neon lights, bottles, trash, and drunks, carried over each night.
I watch the stretch of avenue as it rolls my tongue into clicks
Against my teeth, newly bared in smile from the last of your lips,
The bench in the median, the homeless man, too, recall the kiss.
Darlin’, darlin’, you’re my very blue soul, all the way home,
Even when the night has come to day, that’s then, the moment
I remember dawn from the other side. Yes, you brought me home.
Many are the roads, and yet
Single lies the path to the heart
Only through the mind—Poetry,
Letters, Beauty, Truth, Guilt—
Is such a fancy breached,
Though given stately, all the same:
this is what science has wrought.
A single diamond, turned thus,
And thus, will crack by the spell,
Gently expose its flaw,
And open crystal chasms within,
Rendered by the light
To extremes of brilliance
Deeply set in the void beyond
And what a sense—revival is—
calling out to the liquor and the jazz,
speak easy, my head, these hours
were long in their coming, unfulfilled.
I live for art and I live for its vices,
that beauty, the kind that wets the blink,
and hungers to rip from deeper breaths
every ounce of innocence
to splay before world or cradle to chest:
play me a song, write me some love,
and let’s paint the walls in those colors,
the ones I always wanted, never dared to have.
Home I come
To find the invitation, awaiting in red, damn clever thing,
On top of the magazines, papers, product ads,
pre-approvals, bills, there neatly turned in accent to the heap.
Copyright © 2010 by Ivan Lett