Poem XIX

Can it be growing colder when I begin

to touch myself again, adhesions pull away?

When slowly the naked face turns from staring backward

and looks into the present,

the eye of winter, city, anger, poverty, and death

and the lips part and say: I mean to go on living?

Am I speaking coldly when I tell you in a dream

or in this poem, There are no miracles?

(I told you from the first I wanted daily life,

this island of Manhattan was island enough for me.)

If I could let you know—

two women together is a work

nothing in civilization has made simple,

two people together is a work

heroic in its ordinariness,

the slow-picked, halting traverse of a pitch

where the fiercest attention becomes routine

—look at the faces of those who have chosen it.

– Adrienne Rich “Poem XIX”

“The Lost Hotels of Paris” by Jack Gilbert

The Lord gives everything and charges

by taking it back. What a bargain.

Like being young for a while. We are

allowed to visit hearts of women,

to go into their bodies so we feel

no longer alone. We are permitted

romantic love with its bounty and half-life

of two years. It is right to mourn

for the small hotels of Paris that used to be

when we use to be. My mansard looking

down on Notre Dame every morning is gone,

and me listening to the bell at night.

Venice is no more. The best Greek islands

have drowned in acceleration. But it’s the having

not the keeping that is the treasure.

Ginsberge came to my house one afternoon

and said he was giving up poetry

because it told lies, that language distorts.

I agreed, but asked what we have

that gets it right even that much.

We look up at the stars and they are

not there. We see the memory

of when they were, once upon a time.

And that too is more than enough.

– “The Lost Hotels of Paris” by Jack Gilbert

“I love you with the window open”

Jean Paul Satre in a letter to Simone Beauvoir

I am mastering my love for you and turning it inwards as a constituent element of myself. This happens much more often than I admit to you, but seldom when I’m writing to you. Try to understand me: I love you while paying attention to external things. At Toulouse I simply loved you. Tonight I love you on a spring evening. I love you with the window open. You are mine, and things are mine, and my love alters the things around me and the things around me alter my love.



Source: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/06/21/sartre-love-letter-simone-de-beauvoir/

When does real love begin? (Nin)

“When does real love begin?
At first it was a fire, eclipses, short circuits, lightning and fireworks; the incense, hammocks, drugs, wines, perfumes; then spasm and honey, fever, fatigue, warmth, currents of liquid fire, feast and orgies; then dreams, visions, candlelight, flowers, pictures; then images out of the past, fairy tales, stories, then pages out of a book, a poem; then laughter, then chastity.

At what moment does the knife wound sink so deep that the flesh begins to weep with love?

At first power, power, then the wound, and love, and love and fears, and the loss of the self, and the gift, and slavery. At first I ruled, loved less; then more, then slavery. Slavery to his image, his odor, the craving, the hunger, the thirst, the obsession.”

— Anaïs Nin, A Journal of Love: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin 1934-1938

Sonnet for a Tango in the Twilight (J. Borges)

Who was it who said it all in a homegrown tango
Whose drawn-out, lovely sweetness made me pause
Under some unassuming little balconies
In that leafy neighborhood that isn’t even yours?

All I know is that in its sorrow I saw a simple yard
Within whose earthen walls the whole sunset fit,
A place I’d glimpsed a few months ago in some slum,
And that I loved you more than ever, hearing it.

Caught in that music, I stayed there on the sidewalk

Facing the lonesome moon, the heart of the street,
In the relentless wind that came down driving the night.

That infinite tango pulled me toward everything.
Toward the fresh stars. Toward the chance of being a man.
And toward that clear memory my eyes keep seeking.

Piano (D.H. Lawrence)

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childhood days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.