“Never wanted to” – Marlene Dietrich
You begin by believing women are
chiffon pastels, floating on foam,
soft petals yielding to softer centers.
Naturally you compare them to roses.
The shock of flesh is a grand surprise:
heavy bodies wrestling.
A bigger shock is the granite mind:
that doorless cube where no one answers.
These are really preparations
for the throb of earth in your blood,
gravity tugging at your shoes
as you fall at the speed of life
toward the truly astounding earth.
You discover you actually want to fall:
to yield and open layer on layer.
Then women fade, tired of being fantasies,
and you gratefully stop waving the flags
of countries that never did exist.
Now you think it is settled,, until one night
burying a campfire, banking the coals,
so alone you hear your own breath,
the half-buried flame flares up and you see
at the edge of light, where dark bleeds back,
a single birch, slim as a girl,
staring at you with eyes of flint.
As I was writing this a fly
dropped from nowhere onto my desk.
He lay on his back, one wing buzzing,
turning in a circle, like a wheel
burying itself in mud.
Then he stopped. I blew on him.
He scooted an inch but didn’t move.
Glancing at the doorway where the lamp
battered photons against dark air,
I saw those soul-eating eyes again,
hair long and black and glowing in light,
half invisible, half a shade.
Her stare was something I could not answer,
her mouth a barred gate of stone.
And I saw it never was about women
and never has an end.
Kali in her necklace of skulls
always danced, and always will,
within the head.