Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kenneth Wolman- Two Poems


I met a woman who used to be a whore.
And when she told me, I was staggered,
felt my face go red, then pale,
and all I could ask was Why.

But when she told me it made perfect sense
because what we do for love often is
insensible, senseless, irreproachable, a gift of
the spirit to someone who may not deserve it,

but we make it anyway because it's Grace
and it lives to heal the broken pieces
we carry inside us, that punch like awls
through leather we only think is soul itself,

soft and yielding, sweet to scent and touch:
but carry the memory of the tannery reek,
of poison that makes at last something soft,
compliant, a gift we should have never had. 

As long as I've lived, I collect them:
not just my dead (for by now I do not know
who lives still, who is truly dead),
for I am here, the resurrection and the life,
making them all equal in my sight,
the great chain of unsorted being that
every night floats from the walls,
parading in formation
drawing nothing from me, only repotted
memories and revived anger at chances
missed and taken, at joys recalled,
albeit long ago--things I cannot renounce
but that will never come again.

How downslid is my life that I
can still recall laughter in the dark,
burning cigarette ends, delight after love,
moments taken, gone by, fled
but nor forgotten. How long
have I lived that I remember 24
as grand and gladdening,
that each day the sun rose on newness?
I can name the women who loved me,
who hurt me, who I loved and hurt as well.
Thus the continuum of time remembered,
no one ever missing, a banquet
to banish starvation and nourish recall
not total but molded to wishes and lies.

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