October Again and Again

               I think your face is beautiful, the way it is
               close to my face, and I think you are the real
               October with your transparence and the stone
               of your words as they pass, as I do not hear them.
	               -- Bill Berkson, October


October again
and again it's full 
of you. Can you feel
this small sadness 
as it climbs inside 
and undresses you.
How an orchestra 
of hands can promise 
to be noteless.  
Outside everything 
is beautiful and dying. 
Can you feel this yawning
mouth that only wants
and wants. The intimacy
of small talk without 
the immutability of its 
damage. Is it possible
to fall back asleep
in your contours
without subverting your 
heart into a hallway.
I know I didn't get it right
the first time. 

Can you feel that. Inside me
something insatiable
comes to life.
It reaches up my throat
with its claws. Wants
to be petted and fed
cold milk. Wants to show up
on your doorstep. But aren't I
an expert on restraint. Again
and again. I practice small refusals.
I do not touch. I throw out 
the milk. I try to unremember
the sound of you laughing.
The way your face looked sad
but honest in some moonlight.
The way time continues to elapse
patiently. A heart that beats 
slowly and sadly 
still beats. Still ventures
to unremember. What 
could you have stored up
to tell me anyway.
After all this time.
What would you 
say to me
if you 
were not 
afraid.


There is no suffering if you do not want anything.

               Please forget me. I won't forget you.


You were right about poets.
How right you were. Poets are liars
and obsessive.

Always trying to excoriate reality
into something aesthetic

and effortless
and love into something 
digestible at all.

You were right. They shouldn't do that. 
It isn't possible

and they shouldn't carry on
like it is. It is true 
that I went too far. 

Something simple about boundaries
and delicacy or discretion

had begun to elude me. 
You may continue to blame me and
I can live with that but—

according to a very famous play
(which I'm sure you've heard of)

Blanche explains that the opposite of desire 
is death (death!)
Asked Mitch: So do you wonder?

I don't wonder, or really 
we didn't have to wonder, did we?

It was the easiest thing in the world to do
but very distressing and painful
to have done.

I mean, physically painful.
Like a stomachache.

Like sleeplessness. 
Sometimes desire
is it's own death

and has no opposite.
No one ever battered me

quite like you. 
Early on you told me
about a set of mathematical proofs

which show that two curves
with infinite length

can have a finite area
between them. 
Koch's snowflake. 

Gabriel's wedding cake.
But the converse is never true.
I don't know why 

you told me these things,
but I did want to understand them.
Poets are always trying 

to manufacture metaphors
even from mathematics.
I did try

to understand you.
I shouldn't have told you 
that I wanted to know you

and I shouldn't have wanted
to know you. This is another character flaw

among writers. The general inability 
to let things go
unsaid or unknown. 

I still don't know 
what happened between us

or what any of it meant, although
I am starting to feel 
okay about that. As every day

it became harder and harder
to measure 

any finite space between us.
To even understand what counts
as a thing.

One can claim 
they don't acknowledge 
unspoken subtleties, but

isn't unspoken subtlety 
the only way anyone can distinguish
something viable and breathing

from all the pointless sediment
floating along with the rest of the river?

I'm not making that up. I think
people discovered this 
all the way back 

in the sixteenth century.
With letters and glances

and common sense.
I'm sorry for falling in love with you. 
(Really, I am.) Even the idea of you

is revolting and obscene
like eating food off the floor.
I'm not suggesting

this could have ended
any better. In general,
I'm okay. In general, 

I think solitude 
is a good thing. It's just that
your message was perplexing

and took a long time to sink in. 
Because you spoke in opposites.

So yes. Your moody distractedness
began to unattract me. The way
certain words can create a story

but aren't the story itself.
Eventually everything you said

ceased making any sense at all.
(At all). So I stopped trying
to understand anything.

I think the problem is that this 
went down really deep. 

Well, for me it did
at least.
Deeper than I wanted. 

(But then you snap out of it.
Then you realize that the well is deep
but empty. 

So you throw in a cigarette.
And the whole operation 

bursts into flame.)
Do you see what I'm saying?
I'm sorry that I fell in love with you.

That was where everything collapsed.
I started to sense 
that you didn't really want to know me

anymore or know anything at all.
You just wanted to wander around
and pontificate and sulk

as if things couldn't be knowable
(only you called it brooding).

Well. At least I know a few things
about you now. Who you really are.
It stung but I couldn't unknow.

I said I wouldn't write you anymore,
and I didn't. And that I didn't love you anymore.

And I didn't.
I had thought it was a pretext
until I looked you in the face

and said it out loud. 
Then I knew it was true. 

You know, sometimes
words can do that, actually.
I've realized. Poetry can do that

to a story 
between two people. 

Make it into something, I mean. 
And then into nothing.