Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Warm to the Rim (Five Cups)

In the first cup, I have no object
because I do not know what is there.
I drink from it when I drink from it.
The rim is smooth and the tea is hot until there is a cup,
some tasty traces on my lips
and a warmth within.

In the second cup I look for more and it frustrates the hell out of me
because the taste is different, the temperature is changed,
the process is observed, not done, and only fools seek to be wise.
The tea is first a catalyst, then a vexation, then a symbol, then a clue,
but never is the tea tea in a cup from which I drink.

In the third cup there is a mixture: tea, some milk, a little sugar,
bitterness and some redeeming warmth that makes the cup worth drinking.
I do not notice when it is gone; I've already begun to stir again.

In the fourth cup there is no tea and there is no cup.
There is a little milk to which I add some water and a golden strand of honey.
With these additional things, it still looks like a little milk
in a little bowl of cool, clean porcelain. The first drink is wonderful and warm,
bitter as hot water, cold as milk with no trace of the golden strand.
I hold it in my mouth and stir the liquid in the bowl with one finger.
I can feel the warmth on my tongue and I can feel
the viscous, golden strand entwined about my finger as it stirs.
I swallow the first drink and I taste the rest at once,
and O glad God! I am glad because there is so little milk and water in the bowl
and so much honey. Not wasting a drop, I clean my finger in my mouth
and empty the little bowl with my tongue.
I have forgotten tea and cups.

In the fifth cup is tea, but the fifth cup doesn't exist
because it is tea in a cup and I am not thirsty;
I want for nothing, having become, by this time, nothing myself.

There is tea in a cup, warm to the rim.

New Yorker

A woman on the back of an American magazine tells me with her gaze,
behind her cheap expensive shades,
that she is bronze and I am metropolitan,
worth looking at from the vantage point of the stiff gray threads
that make up the soft, cold couch
upon which lie her frighteningly long, long legs.

Her sex is barely covered by her leather bag and velvet hands,
her hands with little more to do in life than fondle her own vanity,
touch my eyes and lead me: onto the couch, on fast to nothing,
(that is, the point at which my paycheck ends, another man's begins)
and if, if I am lucky: into her
to be devoured, maybe photographed.

She wears her eyes as well as now her breasts wear both her hands,
almost as artfully as her ego wears her nakedness.
Her fingertip, paused in the apex of her clavicle,
moans me to rest in my pursuit of love by chasing her.

But I have seen her when she bathes her face,
have seen it run the same as I: madly
and far from her tumbling eyes.

Clear is the Dawn

Newly born of night, my sun rose clean and clear
into a dawn that faltered as it moved towards true light, true warmth;
no cloud to warn, no single drop of rain
from low heights of high hopes.

Into the dawn to wither?
Into the noon to die of darkness and misgivings of What?
Into the highest noon
like one of many cold stars that day.

Bright is the sun, clear is the dawn,
warm is the Summer that the Spring entailed:
distance, silent far-off space, has made the day so dark.