from cento for the night i said, "i love you"
Men are so clueless sometimes,
like startled fish
living just to live.
We are dying quickly
but behave as good guests should:
patiently allowing the night
to have the last word.
And I just don't know,
you know? I never had a whole lot to say
while talking to strange men.
What allows some strangers to go past strangeness? Exchanging
yearning for permanence. And who wouldn't
come back to bed? Love—
How free are; how bound. Put here in love's name:
called John. A name so common as
a name sung quietly from somewhere.
Like a cry abandoned someplace
in a city about which I know.
I love you, I say, desperate
to admit that
the flesh extends its vanity
to an unknown land
where all the wild swarm.
This is not death. It is something safer,
almost made of air—
I think they call it god.
[Sources: Yona Harvey, Federico García Lorca, June Jordan, Kwame Dawes, W. H. Auden, Ana Castillo, Erica Hunt, Muriel Rukeyser, Ed Roberson, Ruth Madievsky, Thylias Moss, Gregory Orr, Yusef Komunyakaa, Elizabeth Spires, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Tim Seibles, Nathalie Handal, Wisława Szymborska, Adélia Prado, Sonia Sanchez, Jean Sénac, Claribel Alegría, Remica L. Bingham-Risher, Sylvia Plath, Harryette Mullen, Emily Dickinson]