"How Much Longer Will I Be Able to Inhabit the Divine Sepulcher..."
from The Tennis Court Oath (2011)
How much longer will I be able to inhabit the divine sepulcher Of life, my great love? Do dolphins plunge bottomward To find the light? Or is it rock That is searched? Unrelentingly? Huh. And if some day Men with orange shovels come to break open the rock Which encases me, what about the light that comes in then? What about the smell of the light? What about the moss? In pilgrim times he wounded me Since then I only lie My bed of light is a furnace choking me With hell (and sometimes I hear salt water dripping). I mean it—because I’m one of the few To have held my breath under the house. I’ll trade One red sucker for two blue ones. I’m Named Tom. The Light bounces off mossy rocks down to me In this glen (the neat villa! Which When he’d had he would not had he of And jests under the smarting of privet Which on hot spring nights perfumes the empty rooms With the smell of sperm flushed down toilets On hot summer afternoons within sight of the sea. If you knew why then professor) reads To his friends: Drink to me only with And the reader is carried away By a great shadow under the sea. Behind the steering wheel The boy took out his own forehead. His girlfriend’s head was a green bag Of narcissus stems. “OK you win But meet me anyway at Cohen’s Drug Store In 22 minutes.” What a marvel is ancient man! Under the tulip roots he has figured out a way to be a religious animal And would be a mathematician. But where in unsuitable heaven Can he get the heat that will make him grow? For he needs something or will forever remain a dwarf, Though a perfect one, and possessing a normal-sized brain But he has got to be released by giants from things. And as the plant grows older it realizes it will never be a tree, Will probably always be haunted by a bee And cultivates stupid impressions So as not to become part of the dirt. The dirt Is mounting like a sea. And we say goodbye Shaking hands in front of the crashing of the waves That gives our words lonesomeness, and make these flabby hands seem ours— Hands that are always writing things On mirrors for people to see later— Do you want them to water Plant, tear listlessly among the exchangeable ivy— Carrying food to mouth, touching genitals— But no doubt you have understood It all now and I am a fool. It remains For me to get better, and to understand you so Like a chair-sized man. Boots Were heard on the floor above. In the garden the sunlight was still purple But what buzzed in it had changed slightly But not forever . . . but casting its shadow On sticks, and looking around for an opening in the air, was quite as if it had never refused to exist differently. Guys In the yard handled the belt he had made Stars Painted the garage roof crimson and black He is not a man Who can read these signs . . . his bones were stays . . . And even refused to live In a world and refunded the hiss Of all that exists terribly near us Like you, my love, and light. For what is obedience but the air around us To the house? For which the federal men came In a minute after the sidewalk Had taken you home? (“Latin . . . blossom . . .”) After which you led me to water And bade me drink, which I did, owing to your kindness. You would not let me out for two days and three nights, Bringing me books bound in wild thyme and scented wild grasses As if reading had any interest for me, you . . . Now you are laughing. Darkness interrupts my story. Turn on the light. Meanwhile what I am going to do? I am growing up again, in school, the crisis will be very soon. And you twist the darkness in your fingers, you Who are slightly older . . . Who are you, anyway? And it is the color of sand, The darkness, as it sifts through your hand Because what does anything mean, The ivy and the sand? The boat Pulled up on the shore? Am I wonder, Strategically, and in the light Of the long sepulcher that hid death and hides me?