Every Riven Thing

God goes, belonging to every riven thing he’s made
sing his being simply by being
the thing it is:
stone and tree and sky,
man who sees and sings and wonders why

God goes. Belonging, to every riven thing he’s made,
means a storm of peace.
Think of the atoms inside the stone.
Think of the man who sits alone
trying to will himself into the stillness where

God goes belonging. To every riven thing he’s made
there is given one shade
shaped exactly to the thing itself:
under the tree a darker tree;
under the man the only man to see

God goes belonging to every riven thing. He’s made
the things that bring him near,
made the mind that makes him go.
A part of what man knows,
apart from what man knows,

God goes belonging to every riven thing he’s made.

— Christian Wiman

These Poems, She Said

These poems, these poems,
these poems, she said, are poems
with no love in them. These are the poems of a man
who would leave his wife and child because
they made noise in his study. These are the poems
of a man who would murder his mother to claim
the inheritance. These are the poems of a man
like Plato, she said, meaning something I did not
comprehend but which nevertheless
offended me. These are the poems of a man
who would rather sleep with himself than with women,
she said. These are the poems of a man
with eyes like a drawknife, with hands like a pickpocket’s
hands, woven of water and logic
and hunger, with no strand of love in them. These
poems are as heartless as birdsong, as unmeant
as elm leaves, which if they love love only
the wide blue sky and the air and the idea
of elm leaves. Self-love is an ending, she said,
and not a beginning. Love means love
of the thing sung, not of the song or the singing.
These poems, she said….
                                       You are, he said,
beautiful.
                That is not love, she said rightly.
— Robert Bringhurst

Continuing to Live :: Philip Larkin

Continuing to live — that is, repeat
A habit formed to get necessaries —
Is nearly always losing, or going without.
It varies.

This loss of interest, hair, and enterprise —
Ah, if the game were poker, yes,
You might discard them, draw a full house!
But it’s chess.

And once you have walked the length of your mind, what
You command is clear as a lading-list.
Anything else must not, for you, be thought
To exist.

And what’s the profit? Only that, in time,
We half-identify the blind impress
All our behavings bear, may trace it home.
But to confess,

On that green evening when our death begins,
Just what it was, is hardly satisfying,
Since it applied only to one man once,
And that one dying.

Quantum Mechanics of a Lonely Heart

. . . the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help from pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

[From Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach]

The Passive Voice :: Rafael Campo

Imagine why a man likes being fucked.
Imagine how my cock likes being sucked.
Imagine making love to me, my friend.

In English class, my teacher told us not
To use the passive voice; “it’s weak,” he said.
There was an older man who sometimes knocked

At my back door; I’d think of him in bed
And wonder if he’d like to make it break.
Imagine making love to him, my friend,

Until your mother finds your door unlocked.
Imagine what it’s like slowly to bend
Beneath another man’s gigantic cock–

The pleasures of the asshole aren’t discerned
By many English teachers (mine was like
The handsome man I’d like to love instead)–

Imagine telling him. Of course, he’s shocked,
But after several weeks a note he sends:
“Imagine why a man likes being fucked,”

It says, and inexplicably so sad,
“Imagine how my cock likes being sucked.”
In high school, no one seems to understand

This kind of love. It could be called dumb luck
Or disappointment, what happened in his bed;
Imagining why men like being fucked,

After his gentle, upright cock, I spent
The night in tears while in his arms I rocked.
Imagine making love to me, my friend.
Imagine why a man likes being fucked.

— By Rafael Campo

Asylum :: Rafael Campo

Demented underneath the moon, I watch
The street conduct electric sparks tonight,
These cars, their headlights, energy in flight–

Skyscrapers precarious as men in heels.
This night, it seems more glamorous than real.
Demented underneath the moon, around

Another corner, ten men beat the pan
Of shiny, pooling blood another man
Has made for them, his whole life’s work: these men

Identified another queer. The moon
Demented underneath fleeting stars,
Demented, shining on speeding cars,

Dissolves upon my tongue. It tastes like force.
It tastes like blood, saliva, teeth. I’d curse,
But I’m demented. Underneath the moon,

The moonlight makes perfection out of me.
The men are beating on their drum. Their drums
Are poverty and ignorance, so painfully

Made lucid. Once, I really saw the moon.
It hurt. And underneath it all the world
Was busy, furious, bent to the loom.

— By Rafael Campo