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POEM FOR MY ONE-LEGGED LOVER, THE WINE GLASS,  NO. 41
Let us be metaphoric, something that  usually
Cancels itself to be symbolic, in the sense
Of  what is being  uttered is beyond what
Can be said in the false discourse of the ordinary  man.
Come let us compare our relationship
(We could call it "love," but the word "love"
is now under suspicion.  For when the word
is spoken, written, or thought, it refers
to everything  or nothing. The word is as meaningless
as when in a grocery store the young  cashier
calls the purchaser, an old man, dear, sweetheart,
darling, pops.)  to something anachronistic,
abstract expressionism, say, something like a  DeKooning.
We started with a simulation. In the past, a kiss.
In the present, sex.  We put this illusion on canvas,
Then with wild brush  strokes, or tepid drips,
We cover it with a new composition.  Some
Of  the new additions resemble steeples,
Or the windows of condominiums,  sometimes
A pied piper looking for Hamlin, or a hangman
Looking for a  criminal. After much effort
Dedicated  to our attempt to become an  artist
Which means we two are one, we stepped back
From our creation, saw  nothing but suggestions
Of the shapes of politicians and rhetoric
Derived  from Aristotle and Cicero.
It was the formalist way to display
And hide  that we had nothing to paint or say.
Now, we both take scissors, use the  blade
To curl purple crepe paper into purple roses.
 
POEM FOR MY ONE-LEGGED LOVER, THE WINE  GLASS, NO. 42
Shelley sat by a Tampa river on his  return
From somewhere.  He did not know where
He had been.  A  college near by so out
Came an English professor to jog
Off the weight he  gained eating the cafeteria food.
The professor was thinking about how
The  twenty-first century would end,
Would it end with dancing and the next  century
Began with dances from all over the world
As it happened during  the last two centuries.
He saw Shelly sitting on a concrete bench
Gazing  at an egret who had lit on mud.
Shelley showed his poems in  manuscript,
The same poems in the textbook
The professor taught.  The  professor
Asked, "Have you ever been published
In The New Yorker, say  at an early age
Like twenty-four.  Or had your picture
On the front page of The American Poetry Review."
Shelly said, "No."  The professor
Reread the poem he had taught
And praised many times, but
In manuscript unrecognized, said,
"I'm  sorry, son, you'll never make
it as a poet.  Your style is too  lyrical
and realistic for our age when
poetry has taken a "linguistic turn."


POEM FOR MY ONE-LEGGED LOVER, THE WINE  GLASS, NO 43

The forgotten
Or what never had  happened
Became iconic.
She wore for beads
Bulldogs from gum ball  machines.
The icons
Mosaiced on her skull's walls,
Their stiffness,
Caused the gumball dogs
To sniff and bark
In a chorus,
An ancient  ritual,
Older than Greece,
A prototype of Aristophanes.
When I touched  her
I saw flying low over snow,
The white owl's eyes
That brought a  fiery color
To the whiteness and life.
But when I touched
My hand was  transformed
Into the fleshless, gold
Hand of an icon.
 
POEM FOR MY ONE-LEGGED LOVER, THE WINE  GLASS, NO. 44
A chinaberry in front of a red barn;
Two  chinaberries, one hers, one mine.
She observed from an angle
That would  give the tree a background of blue.
Lifted her eyes to see
Light surround  the topmost leaves like a nimbus.
She saw light disembodied from its  origin,
Did not see the green.
She had obscured the scene
Into a  miracle invented by the mind.
From above, the spectral stretched down its arm  of light
Touched her thighs.
I sensed she felt she was loved,
But I was  not the lover.
I gazed at the red clay ground
That in sunlight became  vaporous
As a flame tha would burn  her away,
Leave me responding to  something in absentia,
Although present and ungraspable.
At the base of this tree,  yellow dots among the green,
I looked down while she looked  above
To see light flying with angel's wings.
I saw the yellow berries rip  off their yellow clothes,
Sink into the earth's embraces, become  trees.


POEM FOR MY ONE-LEGGED LOVER, THE WINE  GLASS, NO. 45

The bride arrives, a wedding on a wet  day.
Under a green striped white umbrella,
Her parents sip spiked punch.   They are present,
But are elsewhere.. He wears a silver-gray  ascot;
She, a pink-ribboned, wide-brimmed, pink-ribboned
White-straw hat.  They were at a croquet match.
The two were always at scenes from  movies.
They always thought their daughter
Was not their real child, but a  hospital substitute.
This girl had never been seen
Wearing a top hat and  dancing on a wide screen.
The daughter looked at the sugar couple
Atop a  sugar skyscraper, wished she were in rags,
Hidden with rebels in a field of  wild sugarcane,
Looking up at a condor's outspread wings.


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