Thursday, December 23, 2004

Courtyard Song, Twilight Hawk (New York Memory of Desire, Summer 1991)

Courtyard Song, Twilight Hawk
(New York Memory of Desire, Summer 1991)
To S

From the courtyard five floors below, I hear
A boy's voice singing an indistinct song
In a melody like the dying light.
I am alone and thinking of you.
The air is too still to move.

Yet high on the building opposite
This my back window,
Across the courtyard, across the street,
The white curtains of an apartment
Billow into the twilight.

A lone bird, a city hawk,
Stands erect on the watertower crown.
I can see the balance of night and day
Pivot on the hinge of its body, tremble
On the syllable of the singing boys voice.

If I could end this sorrow, alone turn
The light upon the bare tips of your breasts
Follow the melody through the currents of your legs
And gather the furious fragments of this desire;
If I could drown night in your naked skin

I would snatch you like a hawk, consume you
Like this broken melody, enchanted in this
Permanence of time between night and day, swallow
The harsh delicacy of your tongue, your voice, my lust.
But it is not now possible, between you and me

To sink beneath the sounds of the city
To suddenly touch a face, or love a woman, a man,
In the wounded terrain of our bodies, to consume
Ourselves as sweet as a hawk swallows its prey
The night, as vicious as a distant melody sings to me.

Jerry Monaco
New York City
Also see Shandean Postscripts to Politics and Culture


On Rereading Ecclesiastes (Also see Shandean Postscripts: Click Arrow)

On Rereading Ecclesiastes
(To G)

The old books tell us
To live gently on this earth,
To love our neighbors,
And never betray our lovers
(If we are lucky enough to love).
All of these things I have not done.

And still I love and will be loved
And will live with little apology
Beneath the strict arrangement of stars,
Always expecting the mystic message
From the next lover, the next woman,
Communicated heartward to the attent corpuscles
Of nerve and mulscles;

Always expecting the next fight
To be my last, and the last fuck
To be as if my first. Should I cry
For the blessings that Fortune
Has given to me and taken away?
Should I laugh at the disasters
That happen around me but not to me?

Once after midnight, not long ago,
I wandered the city streets not knowing why ...
I found myself in the old flower district
In a place I used to spend time
With a woman I once loved.
The trucks still unload, and muscular men,
Still carry their freight of flowers, gently,
To the back counters. I was looking for her.

But I thought of you because I knew
I could write this distant memory
Of early morning blue and, perhaps, you would
Take it and remember it, and yourself,
Think of the old books that you will not follow....
And perhaps you too will live
With little apology for the hunger of the stars
You carry in your brain, the longing for life
Your tongue desires, the questions
That beat in your heart.

Jerry Monaco
New York City
(3 December 2002)
Also see Shandean Postscripts


Liminal People: A Memory of Refugees

Liminal People
(On the Meaning of Territory)

Once, I found it normal to pass frontiers;
People in rags waiting on one side
and on the other men with guns...
It made you open your eyes wide
and utter curses of awe...
these people who would soon be dead
so a nation could live
and all the ambitions of that imagined reality
could seem sane...

... and you must only think it is the nation
that dreams the liminal reality
of the people.

Jerry Monaco
New York City

The above was inspired by a poem by William Empson -- who would have not understood how I got from his inspiration to this poem.

also see Shandean Postscripts to Politics and Culture