one a.m. and I move through the house turning off lamps,
pause at the aquarium beside my desk: the crayfish
has climbed the pile of red lava rock. Whiskers
waving, he holds out his huge, warty claws. Bug-eyed,
perched like a jumper, he balances amid a swirl
of guppies, forty, fifty, who can count them, in five
or six descending sizes, the smallest just dark eyes
and whipping tails, impossibly alive.
R says he doesn’t sleep well when I stay up late; he has such long days Monday and Tuesday, and I think well, you could have taken a nap this afternoon or gone to bed earlier, and I think, this is not my responsibility, and I think why is it a problem for you that I stay up working after you have gone to bed? It’s amazing to me how strongly I pull away in my mind when he starts to whine: I want to leave the room, want him out of the house, and then I realize I’m overreacting, there are ways to talk through this, and I touch him and stroke him and think there is no way to be with him without giving up myself. Which is to say I cannot think when he is this way, it takes too much energy to comfort him. Was it a mistake to have him move in? I think it probably was. But I want someone here; it comforts me. Even if I stay up half the night reading, thinking, writing. Even if he leaves in the morning before I wake.
the last drunken amaryllis
smashes its mouth against
the window, kissing the light goodbye
Found the issue of Indiana Review on “Anger & Creativity;” it has an essay on AIDS poetry by Beret Strong. I remember reading the essay years ago, finishing it over breakfast with David at La Mexicana. This would be the year before he died. The poets and poems mentioned are Monette, Gunn, Doty (same poems everyone mentions), Rachel Hadas’s Unending Dialogue, and a few excerpts from unpublished poems by two men with AIDS. I know that David Wojahn is already familiar with this essay; again, I’m wondering what I have to say that could possibly seem new.
. . . Walking with R in the Rose Garden at Hermann Park yesterday. As we left the garden through the gate I looked up at the triple towers of Park Plaza Hospital, raised my hand: “Wave to the Pod People!”