pleasure-pain

December 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

what attracts me to a person
is also what scares me

it’s like what
I told you
on the phone
when you told me you wanted

a great passion, illicit pleasure as with
a married friend of ours back home
involved in a stormy affair
for the last three years:

in the end her pleasure
can’t be excised from her pain
they grow together inoperably
as a tumor hugs the sterile
tissue of the brain

not the sunniest metaphor for desire
I know
but one whose central truth
I know you recognize:
I saw you had written it
down on a page
surrounded by anxious doodles

just as I recognize its truth
as when we ride down F Street
past the faded strip mall
with its Christian bookstore
and bike shop and Laundromat
and take-out pizzeria

(always looking like
another time, anachronistic, adjacent
to the undeveloped corner lot
where scrub grass plows up
pavement – sidewalk piled up
in ruin past ancient train tracks)

as when you turn
around on your bike
and say to me over your shoulder:
we should start a blog
confident and magnanimous
generous until
I suggest it might have
a theme—like what?
you say, and I’m stumped,
nothing comes to mind

we used to have all these projects:
open an unlicensed caberet
out the spare front room
run a gallery of margin art,
an exhibition space for your doodles

but you weren’t interested
in these ideas because
they weren’t your own
you didn’t know what
your own ideas were:

and I have always been worried
that one day you would leave me
for someone else who created
someone who moved you to create

so when you turn to me
both of us riding down F Street
to your apartment where
we’ll make love to cover
over the hurt, to settle
the terms of your
desire for another
within the terms of our
communion

so when you turn back to me
on your bike
and say

how can we have a theme
if you don’t have any ideas

all I can do
is lower my eyes
all I can do
is think:

that the paradox of desire
is that it arises from your otherness
your what I don’t possess
your what I can never be
your where I can never follow
its pleasure is its pain

and a poemless love undoubtedly
is a love without desire
yet to write you is to
despair, somehow
to feel you ride
ahead of me there
up F Street
in the dark

10 April, 2006

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