the great romance
which began long ago.
Prophecy is a dangerous business,
but you know a great
when you see one.
This is not for children;
nor is it for whimsy-loves
It is extraordinary-
has been projected
to it’s own
to the actual
Here are beauties,
like cold iron;
it will break your heart,
good beyond hope.
The boy and the girl blew purple smoke
into the haze over the Golden Gate,
looking for clouds shaped like Ginsburg or Kerouac
and imagining this is how they felt.
The purple smoke became the sunset
and they watched the ships that never really appeared
as they sank below the white sun.
She swung from the eucalyptus
watching the ground and sky trade places
in the space between her knees,
and was confused for a moment when she felt the swing leave her,
and saw the ground rise up to meet her lifted hands.
The watched her pink dress fly over her head
to the place where the sky meets the smoke.
He doesn’t remember seeing the dress leave her body
but he tries to carry her bruises for her
because she can’t walk the path out of the trees
while purple smoke overwhelms her knees,
blossoming into concentrated ache
on the legs her pink dress once covered.
The girl reaches her eyes far into the blue above her head
and into the blue splayed out at her feet,
but despite her best efforts
they simply won’t reach- the boy rests just out of reach,
asleep across the chasm of the Pacific.
So she cries in blue-grey marbles that roll over the floor,
roll in blue whale waves to the window
below which the boy sleeps.
He doesn’t know where the marbles come from
or why they are scattered across his pillow when he wakes
but he tucks several into his pocket
and touches them as he walks,
thinking about the girl:
the way her eyes melt into his
and how the sea meets the California cliffs.
He will blow her cherry blossom kisses
when he steps off of the airplane.
She will be standing at the foot of the stairs
in her small black dress,
but he will not yet be close enough
to press his palms against her winter skin.
And so he will send his kisses sweeping before him.
The blossoms will fill the airport:
the Polish woman beside the girl
will catch some in her arms and inhale,
and the four children
in matching San Francisco sweaters
will wonder why the airport is filled
with tiny pieces of cotton candy.
Under my skull I give myself the power to beat you, then apologize
and kiss your purple-bruised onion skin. You are my people,
and my soft, sad lips are juxtaposed with an anthropological exploration of Hanoi.
Godard would call me anti-atomique, but I would declare these small kisses
revolutionary acts—you think I am making love to the long-haired students with signs.
I regret the winter I began to drink black tea and prophesize about “passion,”
or about the twenty-seven joggers in Central park that I thought were Communists.
I thought you were all falling into the wrong hands when you asked
where can we find “passion” anymore? I pretended to know then,
pretended to pump passion into the fliers I passed you from next to a fire hydrant.
And now I use quotations to separate myself rom the people who talk about “revolution,”
and you are afraid. When I kiss you on your cheeks, my lips are a stamp:
my face is navy, darker than your skin. I have decided you are too small
to be big, and that I make myself look bigger when you’re lying purple and wilted,
and I can march my drumming-boy boots over your fallen bodies.
is being kissed in a non-American bed.
in the 1491 sense of the word,
wild against the white sheets
and next to pale European men.
They wonder if she slept on pine needles,
not knowing what she was missing,
not knowing her potential
for kissing in big soft white beds.
A half-naked man passes her a cup
so she can drink brown biter water
and people say her skin is like tea,
spilt on Britain.
Touching tongues, my serpent legs kiss
slipping over one another in an unseen embrace,
my black scales give way to callused pink underbellies
sliding against the floor, sliding against the pavement
away from hateful, pale eyes.
Five, six, seven, eight, I am out of the light, staying with the up-down needles.
The others have pink adders for feet,
they are pale, dancing, satin-clad snakes
pressing into the splintering floorboards of the world
or the stage, and I am not.
I am alone with my black serpent limbs,
bending like pins in the seams I sew,
bending under the weight of caged kisses,
kisses for Ruth,
kisses for the queen,
and kisses for my dark serpents,
curled up, out of the glassy plastic light.
The hands of this metallic sea
force your black-blue face to wax and wane,
reflecting miles across its flat glass surface,
taunting the fragility of my happiness.
Cruel expanse sobers our early visions,
but I somehow don’t feel lonely
curled in the temperate inside of your hang,
though we don’t have fingers to hold, or lips to kiss.
I’m realizing now that I didn’t think
we could ever wander safely,
so far apart in these music not woods.
But the haze won’t grow too dim:
I grow pale blue in your absence
as the hours creep or race by.