The Decimation of Love Define love. It will still survive Whatever limits are placed on it.

The beast that's captured in the sonnet Still breathes its hot breath, still alive. Just so, the traces that I drive Into the clean and empty space That ought to be our garden place Figure the flowers in pure outline Where mine is yours and yours is mine, Around this image: a child's face. Define honor. What brave act, What privilege could ever raise The sacrifice of all my days And bring them back, pristine, intact? So I am helpless to retract Conclusions you regard foregone, For you already have moved on. Your forty sagas will be thinned To gorge the fruit with which you sinned, Yet of that ripe fact I eat none. Define romance. It was my tongue Doing you justice, then and now, And this is something that you know As surely as you sing your song. Though you deny it hard and long, What never happened doesn't matter, As what did does. Both wind and water Are moved by sun and moon, the power Of destiny that carved that hour You knew my daydream, and none sweeter. Your little whisper woke my life And yours, though you are not so proud As I of what it was you said, That you had been my hope's midwife. You knew the gleam, edge of the knife, And how to spit my tough old heart Right through the scars that ache and smart. Yet now you think that mine will heal Because your own is also real, But all need love's strong salve, you tart. Where I would be has no description Except to say that in your reach

Is more than anyone could teach, You gypsy girl, my own Egyptian. I worship you and each inscription, Re-reading as you fall to earth Where you will have your fiery death, As will we all, if things keep up, For that's the spider in the cup: You may recant with your last breath. I scour my books to find your sphere, And you are there, with promise, fame, With love and wisdom, courage, flame Of justice, contemplative air, And with the destiny we share, Our common imperfect humanity, Facing cosmic insanity Become the wheel that drives our care. That is the measure of our fare: False angels, feeding vanity. I wobble on one foot unfalling And overstep forgiven, sweeping Licentious moan next into weeping For that for which all words are calling. And as your weaknesses come trailing I give them special emphasis Counting them strong, for every kiss That through your parted lips finds way Envelopes all in its lush sway, Inviting new worlds into bliss. My theme is the reduction to What must be said, what must be heard, What must remain beyond the word, Leaving behind a stronger brew. Such distillation eats at you, Losing a finger out of ten, Losing tear after tear again, Losing someone you'll miss forever, Losing what was your mind so clever, Losing simply because you can. The person for whom this is written Is one who does not need to read it. The point it makes, she could concede it Without the hook in it being bitten. She is a fish already smitten, Who needs no sleek and flashy lure, No wholesome bait of fishy fare.

She sees me angling for her eye, Whom she caught when I caught, caught we, Who won't release, not this, for sure. We cannot avoid history Or what there was before it started, And yet we try, both broken hearted, Although each in a different way. But there is more than that to say. History twisted us together, Two migrant birds in tropic weather, But even now the climate's changed To something from which we're estranged, But you know we are of a feather. What earthly purpose could it serve For me, the poet, to so ration The terms of this, our decimation, To pour acid on every nerve? Perhaps just to return the serve. Initiative is some control-Better than cringing in a hole, Or else, perhaps an enemy Is living deep inside of me, A loathesome, cruel, ugly troll And now what would I have you feel? Take all the feelings here expressed, Stripped from the poem, cleaned and pressed. Then try, as best you can, to peel The bitter from the sweet, the real From all the nonsense and fandango. (Think of blood oranges and mango.) Now feel the true, the tasteful good-Don't eat the rest, although you should, With red wine, listening to Django. And now what would I have you do? That question is the only one You'd answered ere I had begun. Turn back the clock. Give me to you, Again, and, just as you'd started to, Give you to me. Then let's find out Just what all this has been about, Why you make me a dynamo And you stop hiding who you know You are behind that mask of doubt.