I’ve been working on a second collection of poems that explore the difficulty of language through both public and private lenses. These poems function and progress through various patterns of repetition and language play. While at Civitella, the repetition of my daily movements very much echoed the process of writing these poems. I’d wake up, make tea, and go for a walk up the hill past the castle and olive trees. Every day the landscape looked the same, tremendous layers of blue and green, low fog, crisp air. It became a comfort to see the landscape first before I sat down to work. These reminders only enhanced my thoughts on repetition. The world repeated can still evolve into a new world, as long as the thoughts that are projected and discovered within it are new. This residency at Civitella has breathed new life into my work and allowed me to nearly complete a second book of poems. A once in a lifetime gift.
A Difficulty System
I love a man who is difficult to love, the way a horse is difficult to ride
when the horse is a man. Or when you don’t stroke it enough, or you
do, but you stroke it wrongly and you don’t love it completely.
I love the difficulty of loving a man incompletely. His blue, his black,
his back, I have not mounted enough, it’s hard. The body is difficult,
even the horses body, its muscled frame
always galloping away. Its mane, the main reason, I mean, is to stay,
to hold on, they’re hard to know the difference between. I could say
that loving a man is an easy task. I could say the man and I are
beautiful like two horses
in the earliest, blurry light. Always love is useless. Or the horse is
because you don’t know how to ride it and it can’t run fast enough
or it runs too fast and there you are standing alone
in a field as it rushes
past you. Let’s not mistake what’s difficult here: the man, the manner
of loving him or leaving him. Or believing him, that his body wants
to be had easily by your body and not by any body
that can be simply had.
I love a man who is difficult to love, the way a man is difficult to love,
the way a horse that is running keeps on running so you will hold it
harder. So hold it harder, its continuously difficult body, then go on
loving him, easily, as hard.
It is voluntary to love each other
now. Because we have not
grown more simple. Because
in our dreams it always replays,
the day the planes were flying
and then not flying. The buildings
standing and then gone. I think
we should have a new kind of dreaming
where planes transform into women
where women transform
into buildings and the men inside them
jump and the women transform
into a soft sea below. Because it is still so
unimaginable–the act of jumping,
the fact of buildings and people
high in them and no sea. And men
who loved women and men who loved
men and children
who loved their fathers and
mothers who jumped too.
What we need now is a bed
smoothed into the side of a mountain
where we could sleep. How beautiful
the nerve of us to think
we have plenty of time and breathing.