Ch’ang-o by Li Shang-yin

Against the screen of “mother-of-clouds” the candle throws its deep shadow;
The Long River gradually sinks, the morning star sets.
Ch’ang-o should regret having stolen the elixir:
The green sea—the blue sky—her heart every night!

translated by James J. Y. Liu

in candlelight

the candle flickering
the shadows
on the wall
tonight
bring back a memory
of you dancing
in candlelight
in that house
in Cleveland
the dog curled up
on the shag rug
asleep
the only witness
me
not so drunk
not to know
that life
would never be
any better
than this
you dancing
in candlelight
for me

poem: i like my body by e. e. cummings

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like my body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it-comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

The Way by Robert Creeley

My love’s manners in bed
are not to be discussed by me,
as mine by her
I would not credit comment upon gracefully.

Yet I ride by the margin of that lake in
the wood, the castle,
and the excitement of strongholds;
and have a small boy’s notion of doing good.

Oh well, I will say here,
knowing each man,
let you find a good wife too,
and love her as hard as you can.

from Marriage by Gregory Corso: for Jim DeSalvo wherever he might be who is probably reciting the entire poem in some bar to anyone drunk enough to listen as I listened as we all listened so many centuries ago

Should I get married? Should I be good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don’t take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understand why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It’s beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky—-

Marriage by Wendell Berry

How hard is it for me, who live
in the excitement of women
and have the desire for them
in my mouth like salt. Yet
you have taken me and quieted me.
You have been such light to me
that other women have been
your shadows. You come near me
with the nearness of sleep.
And yet I am not quiet.
It is to be broken. It is to be
torn open. It is not to be
reached and come to rest in
ever. I turn against you,
I break from you, I turn to you.
We hurt, and are hurt,
and have each other for healing.
It is healing. It is never whole.

Earth and Fire by Wendell Berry

In this woman the earth speaks.
Her words open in me, cells of light
flashing in my body, and make a song
that I follow toward her out of my need.
The pain I have given her I wear
like another skin, tender, the air
around me flashing with thorns.
And yet such joy as I have given her
sings in me and is part of her song.
The winds of her knees shake me
like a flame. I have risen from her,
time and again, a new man.

The Plan by Wendell Berry

Leonard Durso

My old friend, the owner
of a new boat, stops by
to ask me to fish with him,

and I say I will–both of us
knowing that we may never
get around to it, it may be

years before we’re both
idle again on the same day.
But we make a plan, anyhow,

in honor of friendship
and the fine spring weather
and the new boat

and our sudden thought
of the water shining
under the morning fog.

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