I am trying to imagine
how it feels to you
to want a woman
trying to hallucinate
centered in a cock
focused like a burning-glass
desire without discrimination:
to want a woman like a fix
Desire: yes: the sudden knowledge, like coming out of ‘flu, that the body is sexual. Walking in the streets with that knowledge. That evening in the plane form Pittsburgh, fantasizing going to meet you. walking through the airport blazing with energy and joy. But knowing all along that you were not the source of that energy and joy; you were a man, a stranger, a name, a voice on the telephone, a friend; this desire was mine, this energy my energy; it could be a hundred ways, and going to meet you could be one of them.
Tonight is a different kind of night.
I sit in the car, racing the engine,
calculating the thinness of the ice.
In my head I am already threading the beltways
that rim this city,
all the old roads that used to wander the country
having been lost.
Tonight I understand
my photo on the license is not me,
name on the marriage-contract was not mine.
If I remind you of my father’s favorite daughter,
look again. The woman
I needed to call my mother
was silenced before I was born.
Tonight if the battery charges I want to take the car out on sheet-ice; I want to understand my fear both of the machine and of the accidents of nature. My desire for you is not trivial; I can compare it with the greatest of those accidents. But the energy it draws on might lead to racing a cold engine, cracking the frozen spiderweb, parachuting into the field of a poem wired with danger, or to a trip through gorges and canyons, into the cratered night of female memory, where delicately and with intense care the chieftainess inscribes upon the ribs of the volcano the name of the one she has chosen.