In silence the heart raves. It utters words Meaningless, that never had A meaning. I was ten, skinny, red-headed, Freckled. In a big black Buick, Driven by a big grown boy, with a necktie, she sat In front of the drugstore, sipping something Through a straw. There is nothing like Beauty. It stops your heart. It Thickens your blood. It stops your breath. It Makes you feel dirty. You need a hot bath. I leaned against a telephone pole, and watched. I thought I would die if she saw me. How could I exist in the same world with that brightness? Two years later she smiled at me. She Named my name. I thought I would wake up dead. Her grown brothers walked with the bent-knee Swagger of horsemen. They were slick-faced. Told jokes in the barbershop. Did no work. Their father was what is called a drunkard. Whatever he was he stayed on the third floor Of the big white farmhouse under the maples for twenty-five years. He never came down. They brought everything up to him. I did not know what a mortgage was. His wife was a good, Christian woman, and prayed. When the daughter got married, the old man came down wearing An old tail coat, the pleated shirt yellowing. The sons propped him. I saw the wedding. There were Engraved invitations, it was so fashionable. I thought I would cry. I lay in bed that night And wondered if she would cry when something was done to her. The mortgage was foreclosed. That last word was whispered. She never came back. The family Sort of drifted off. Nobody wears shiny boots like that now. But I know she is beautiful forever, and lives In a beautiful house, far away. She called my name once. I didn't even know she knew it.
No, love is not dead in this heart these eyes and this mouth that announced the start of its own funeral. Listen, I've had enough of the picturesque, the colorful and the charming. I love love, its tenderness and cruelty. My love has only one name, one form. Everything disappears. All mouths cling to that one. My love has just one name, one form. And if someday you remember O you, form and name of my love, One day on the ocean between America and Europe, At the hour when the last ray of light sparkles on the undulating surface of the waves, or else a stormy night beneath a tree in the countryside or in a speeding car, A spring morning on the boulevard Malesherbes, A rainy day, Just before going to bed at dawn, Tell yourself-I order your familiar spirit-that I alone loved you more and it's a shame you didn't know it. Tell yourself there's no need to regret: Ronsard and Baudelaire before me sang the sorrows of women old or dead who scorned the purest love. When you are dead You will still be lovely and desirable. I'll be dead already, completely enclosed in your immortal body, in your astounding image forever there among the endless marvels of life and eternity, but if I'm alive, The sound of your voice, your radiant looks, Your smell the smell of your hair and many other things will live on inside me. In me and I'm not Ronsard or Baudelaire I'm Robert Desnos who, because I knew and loved you, Is as good as they are. I'm Robert Desnos who wants to be remembered On this vile earth for nothing but his love of you. A la mysterieuse
When April bends above me And finds me fast asleep, Dust need not keep the secret A live heart died to keep. When April tells the thrushes, The meadow-larks will know, And pipe the three words lightly To all the winds that blow. Above his roof the swallows, In notes like far-blown rain, Will tell the little sparrow Beside his window-pane. O sparrow, little sparrow, When I am fast asleep, Then tell my love the secret That I have died to keep.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well That, for all they care, I can go to hell, But on earth indifference is the least We have to dread from man or beast. How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me. Admirer as I think I am Of stars that do not give a damn, I cannot, now I see them, say I missed one terribly all day. Were all stars to disappear or die, I should learn to look at an empty sky And feel its total dark sublime, Though this might take me a little time.
There were mice, and even Smaller creatures holed up in the rafters. One would raise its thumb, or frown, And suddenly the clouds would part, and the whole Fantastic contraption come tumbling down. And the arcade of forgotten things Closed in the winter, and the roller coaster Stood empty as the visitors sped away Down a highway that passed by an old warehouse Full of boxes of spools and spoons. I wonder if these small mythologies, Whose only excuse for existing is to maintain us In our miniscule way of life, Might possibly be true? And even if they were, Would it be right? Go find the moon And seal it in the envelope of night. The stars are like a distant dust And what the giants left lies hidden in full view. Brush your hair. Wipe the blood from your shoes. Sit back and watch the firedance begin. --So the rain falls in place, The playground by the school is overrun with weeds And we live our stories, filling up our lives With souvenirs of the abandoned Factory we have lingered in too long.
It's like living in a light bulb, with the leaves
Like filaments and the sky a shell of thin, transparent glass
Enclosing the late heaven of a summer day, a canopy
Of incandescent blue above the dappled sunlight golden on the grass.
I took the train back from Poughkeepsie to New York
And in the Port Authority, there at the Suburban Transit window,
She asked, "Is this the bus to Princeton?"—which it was.
"Do you know Geoffrey Love?" I said I did. She had the blondest hair,
Which fell across her shoulders, and a dress of almost phosphorescent blue.
She liked Ayn Rand. We went down to the Village for a drink,
Where I contrived to miss the last bus to New Jersey, and at 3 a.m. we
Walked around and found a cheap hotel I hadn't enough money for
And fooled around on its dilapidated couch. An early morning bus
(She'd come to see her brother), dinner plans and missed connections
And a message on his door about the Jersey shore. Next day
A summer dormitory room, my roommates gone: "Are you," she asked,
"A hedonist?" I guessed so. Then she had to catch her plane.
Sally—Sally Roche. She called that night from Florida,
And then I never heard from her again. I wonder where she is now,
Who she is now. That was thirty-seven years ago.
And I'm too old to be surprised again. The days are open,
Life conceals no depths, no mysteries, the sky is everywhere,
The leaves are all ablaze with light, the blond light
Of a summer afternoon that made me think again of Sally's hair.
What is it men in women do require The lineaments of Gratified Desire What is it women do in men require The lineaments of Gratified Desire
My Love is of a birth as rare As 'tis for object strange and high: It was begotten by Despair Upon Impossibility. Magnanimous Despair alone Could show me so divine a thing, Where feeble Hope could ne'er have flown But vainly flapped its Tinsel wing. And yet I quickly might arrive Where my extended soul is fixt, But Fate does iron wedges drive, And always crowds itself betwixt. For Fate with jealous eye does see Two perfect Loves; nor lets them close: Their union would her ruin be, And her tyrannic power depose. And therefore her decrees of steel Us as the distant Poles have placed, (Though Love's whole World on us doth wheel) Not by themselves to be embraced. Unless the giddy Heaven fall, And Earth some new convulsion tear; And, us to join, the World should all Be cramped into a planisphere. As lines so Loves oblique may well Themselves in every angle greet: But ours so truly parallel, Though infinite can never meet. Therefore the Love which us doth bind, But Fate so enviously debars, Is the conjunction of the Mind, And opposition of the Stars.
For CynthiaWhen Suibhe would not return to fine garments and good food, to his houses and his people, Loingseachan told him, "Your father is dead." "I'm sorry to hear it," he said. "Your mother is dead," said the lad. "All pity for me has gone out of the world." "Your sister, too, is dead." "The mild sun rests on every ditch," he said; "a sister loves even though not loved." "Suibhne, your daughter is dead." "And an only daughter is the needle of the heart." "And Suibhne, your little boy, who used to call you 'Daddy' he is dead." "Aye," said Suibhne, "that's the drop that brings a man to the ground."
He fell out of the yew tree; Loingseachan closed his arms around him and placed him in manacles.—after The Middle-Irish Romance
The Madness of Suibhne
1 Child of my winter, born When the new fallen soldiers froze In Asia's steep ravines and fouled the snows, When I was torn By love I could not still, By fear that silenced my cramped mind To that cold war where, lost, I could not find My peace in my will, All those days we could keep Your mind a landscape of new snow Where the chilled tenant-farmer finds, below, His fields asleep In their smooth covering, white As quilts to warm the resting bed Of birth or pain, spotless as paper spread For me to write, And thinks: Here lies my land Unmarked by agony, the lean foot Of the weasel tracking, the thick trapper's boot; And I have planned My chances to restrain The torments of demented summer or Increase the deepening harvest here before It snows again.
2 Late April and you are three; today We dug your garden in the yard. To curb the damage of your play, Strange dogs at night and the moles tunneling, Four slender sticks of lath stand guard Uplifting their thin string. So you were the first to tramp it down. And after the earth was sifted close You brought your watering can to drown All earth and us. But these mixed seeds are pressed With light loam in their steadfast rows. Child, we've done our best. Someone will have to weed and spread The young sprouts. Sprinkle them in the hour When shadow falls across their bed. You should try to look at them every day Because when they come to full flower I will be away.
3 The child between them on the street Comes to a puddle, lifts his feet And hangs on their hands. They start At the Jive weight and lurch together, Recoil to swing him through the weather, Stiffen and pull apart. We read of cold war soldiers that Never gained ground, gave none, but sat Tight in their chill trenches. Pain seeps up from some cavity Through the ranked teeth in sympathy; The whole jaw grinds and clenches Till something somewhere has to give. It's better the poor soldiers live In someone else's hands Than drop where helpless powers fall On crops and barns, on towns where all Will burn. And no man stands. For good, they sever and divide Their won and lost land. On each side Prisoners are returned Excepting a few unknown names. The peasant plods back and reclaims His fields that strangers burned And nobody seems very pleased. It's best. Still, what must not be seized Clenches the empty fist. I tugged your hand, once, when I hated Things less: a mere game dislocated The radius of your wrist. Love's wishbone, child, although I've gone As men must and let you be drawn Off to appease another, It may help that a Chinese play Or Solomon himself might say I am your real mother.
4 No one can tell you why the season will not wait; the night I told you I must leave, you wept a fearful rate to stay up late. Now that it's turning Fan, we go to take our walk among municipal flowers, to steal one off its stalk, to try and talk. We huff like windy giants scattering with our breath gray-headed dandelions; Spring is the cold wind's aftermath. The poet saith. But the asters, too, are gray, ghost-gray. Last night's cold is sending on their way petunias and dwarf marigold, hunched sick and old. Like nerves caught in a graph, the morning-glory vines frost has erased by half still scrawl across their rigid twines. Like broken lines of verses I can't make. In its unraveling loom we find a flower to take, with some late buds that might still bloom, back to your room. Night comes and the stiff dew. I'm told a friend's child cried because a cricket, who had minstreled every night outside her window, died.
5 Winter again and it is snowing; Although you are still three, You are already growing Strange to me. You chatter about new playmates, sing Strange songs; you do not know Hey ding-a-ding-a-ding Or where I go Or when I sang for bedtime, Fox Went out on a chilly night, Before I went for walks And did not write; You never mind the squalls and storms That are renewed long since; Outside, the thick snow swarms Into my prints And swirls out by warehouses, sealed, Dark cowbarns, huddled, still, Beyond to the blank field, The fox's hill Where he backtracks and sees the paw, Gnawed off, he cannot feel; Conceded to the jaw Of toothed, blue steel.
6 Easter has come around again; the river is rising over the thawed ground and the banksides. When you come you bring an egg dyed lavender. We shout along our bank to hear our voices returning from the hills to meet us. We need the landscape to repeat us. You Jived on this bank first. While nine months filled your term, we knew how your lungs, immersed in the womb, miraculously grew their useless folds till the fierce, cold air rushed in to fill them out like bushes thick with leaves. You took your hour, caught breath, and cried with your full lung power. Over the stagnant bight we see the hungry bank swallow flaunting his free flight still; we sink in mud to follow the killdeer from the grass that hides her nest. That March there was rain; the rivers rose; you could hear killdeers flying all night over the mudflats crying. You bring back how the red- winged blackbird shrieked, slapping frail wings, diving at my head— I saw where her tough nest, cradled, swings in tall reeds that must sway with the winds blowing every way. If you recall much, you recall this place. You still live nearby—on the opposite hill. After the sharp windstorm of July Fourth, all that summer through the gentle, warm afternoons, we heard great chain saws chirr like iron locusts. Crews of roughneck boys swarmed to cut loose branches wrenched in the shattering wind, to hack free all the torn limbs that could sap the tree. In the debris lay starlings, dead. Near the park's birdrun we surprised one day a proud, tan-spatted, buff-brown pigeon. In my hands she flapped so fearfully that I let her go. Her keeper came. And we helped snarl her in a net. You bring things I'd as soon forget. You raise into my head a Fall night that I came once more to sit on your bed; sweat beads stood out on your arms and fore- head and you wheezed for breath, for help, like some child caught beneath its comfortable wooly blankets, drowning there. Your lungs caught and would not take the air. Of all things, only we have power to choose that we should die; nothing else is free in this world to refuse it. Yet I, who say this, could not raise myself from bed how many days to the thieving world. Child, I have another wife, another child. We try to choose our life.
7 Here in the scuffled dust is our ground of play. I lift you on your swing and must shove you away, see you return again, drive you off again, then stand quiet till you come. You, though you climb higher, farther from me, longer, will fall back to me stronger. Bad penny, pendulum, you keep my constant time to bob in blue July where fat goldfinches fly over the glittering, fecund reach of our growing lands. Once more now, this second, I hold you in my hands.
8 I thumped on you the best I could which was no use; you would not tolerate your food until the sweet, fresh milk was soured with lemon juice. That puffed you up like a fine yeast. The first June in your yard like some squat Nero at a feast you sat and chewed on white, sweet clover. That is over. When you were old enough to walk we went to feed the rabbits in the park milkweed; saw the paired monkeys, under lock, consume each other's salt. Going home we watched the slow stars follow us down Heaven's vault. You said, let's catch one that comes low, pull off its skin and cook it for our dinner. As absentee bread-winner, I seldom got you such cuisine; we ate in local restaurants or bought what lunches we could pack in a brown sack with stale, dry bread to toss for ducks on the green-scummed lagoons, crackers for porcupine and fox, life-savers for the footpad coons to scour and rinse, snatch after in their muddy pail and stare into their paws. When I moved next door to the jail I learned to fry omelettes and griddle cakes so I could set you supper at my table. As I built back from helplessness, when I grew able, the only possible answer was you had to come here less. This Hallowe'en you come one week. You masquerade as a vermilion, sleek, fat, crosseyed fox in the parade or, where grim jackolanterns leer, go with your bag from door to door foraging for treats. How queer: when you take off your mask my neighbors must forget and ask whose child you are. Of course you lose your appetite, whine and won't touch your plate; as local law I set your place on an orange crate in your own room for days. At night you lie asleep there on the bed and grate your jaw. Assuredly your father's crimes are visited on you. You visit me sometimes. The time's up. Now our pumpkin sees me bringing your suitcase. He holds his grin; the forehead shrivels, sinking in. You break this year's first crust of snow off the runningboard to eat. We manage, though for days I crave sweets when you leave and know they rot my teeth. Indeed our sweet foods leave us cavities.
9 I get numb and go in though the dry ground will not hold the few dry swirls of snow and it must not be very cold. A friend asks how you've been and I don't know or see much right to ask. Or what use it could be to know. In three months since you came the leaves have fallen and the snow; your pictures pinned above my desk seem much the same. Somehow I come to find myself upstairs in the third floor museum's halls, walking to kill my time once more among the enduring and resigned stuffed animals, where, through a century's caprice, displacement and known treachery between its wars, they hear some old command and in their peaceable kingdoms freeze to this still scene, Nature Morte. Here by the door, its guardian, the patchwork dodo stands where you and your stepsister ran laughing and pointing. Here, last year, you pulled my hands and had your first, worst quarrel, so toys were put up on your shelves. Here in the first glass cage the little bobcats arch themselves, still practicing their snarl of constant rage. The bison, here, immense, shoves at his calf, brow to brow, and looks it in the eye to see what is it thinking now. I forced you to obedience; I don't know why. Still the lean lioness beyond them, on her jutting ledge of shale and desert shrub, stands watching always at the edge, stands hard and tanned and envious above her cub; with horns locked in tan heather, two great Olympian Elk stand bound, fixed in their lasting hate till hunger brings them both to ground. Whom equal weakness binds together none shall separate. Yet separate in the ocean of broken ice, the white bear reels beyond the leathery groups of scattered, drab Arctic seals arrested here in violent motion like Napoleon's troops. Our states have stood so long At war, shaken with hate and dread, they are paralyzed at bay; once we were out of reach, we said, we would grow reasonable and strong. Some other day. Like the cold men of Rome, we have won costly fields to sow in salt, our only seed. Nothing but injury will grow. I write you only the bitter poems that you can't read. Onan who would not breed a child to take his brother's bread and be his brother's birth, rose up and left his lawful bed, went out and spilled his seed in the cold earth. I stand by the unborn, by putty-colored children curled in jars of alcohol, that waken to no other world, unchanging, where no eye shall mourn. I see the caul that wrapped a kitten, dead. I see the branching, doubled throat of a two-headed foal; I see the hydrocephalic goat; here is the curled and swollen head, there, the burst skull; skin of a limbless calf; a horse's foetus, mummified; mounted and joined forever, the Siamese twin dogs that ride belly to belly, half and half, that none shall sever. I walk among the growths, by gangrenous tissue, goiter, cysts, by fistulas and cancers, where the malignancy man loathes is held suspended and persists. And I don't know the answers. The window's turning white. The world moves like a diseased heart packed with ice and snow. Three months now we have been apart less than a mile. I cannot fight or let you go.
10 The vicious winter finally yields the green winter wheat; the farmer, tired in the tired fields he dare not leave will eat. Once more the runs come fresh; prevailing piglets, stout as jugs, harry their old sow to the railing to ease her swollen dugs and game colts trail the herded mares that circle the pasture courses; our seasons bring us back once more like merry-go-round horses. With crocus mouths, perennial hungers, into the park Spring comes; we roast hot dogs on old coat hangers and feed the swan bread crumbs, pay our respects to the peacocks, rabbits, and leathery Canada goose who took, last Fall, our tame white habits and now will not turn loose. In full regalia, the pheasant cocks march past their dubious hens; the porcupine and the lean, red fox trot around bachelor pens and the miniature painted train wails on its oval track: you said, I'm going to Pennsylvania! and waved. And you've come back. If I loved you, they said, I'd leave and find my own affairs. Well, once again this April, we've come around to the bears; punished and cared for, behind bars, the coons on bread and water stretch thin black fingers after ours. And you are still my daughter.
Room after room, I hunt the house through We inhabit together. Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her, Next time, herself!—not the trouble behind her Left in the curtain, the couch's perfume! As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew,— Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her feather. Yet the day wears, And door succeeds door; I try the fresh fortune— Range the wide house from the wing to the centre. Still the same chance! she goes out as I enter. Spend my whole day in the quest,—who cares? But 'tis twilight, you see,—with such suites to explore, Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!
When we two parted In silence and tears, Half broken-hearted To sever for years, Pale grew thy cheek and cold, Colder thy kiss; Truly that hour foretold Sorrow to this. The dew of the morning Sunk chill on my brow-- It felt like the warning Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all broken, And light is thy fame; I hear thy name spoken, And share in its shame. They name thee before me, A knell to mine ear; A shudder comes o'er me-- Why wert thou so dear? They know not I knew thee, Who knew thee too well-- Long, long shall I rue thee, Too deeply to tell. In secret we met-- In silence I grieve, That thy heart could forget, Thy spirit deceive. If I should meet thee After long years, How should I greet thee?-- With silence and tears.
That Halloween I wore your wedding dress, our children spooked & wouldn’t speak for days. I’d razored taut calves smooth, teased each blown tress, then—lipsticked, mascaraed, & self-amazed— shimmied like a starlet on the dance floor. I’d never felt so sensual before— Catholic schoolgirl & neighborhood whore. In bed, dolled up, undone, we fantasized: we clutched & fused, torn twins who’d been denied. You were my shy groom. Love, I was your bride.
Blue, but you are Rose, too, and buttermilk, but with blood dots showing through. A little salty your white nape boy-wide. Glinting hairs shoot back of your ears' Rose that tongues like to feel the maze of, slip into the funnel, tell a thunder-whisper to. When I kiss, your eyes' straight lashes down crisp go like doll's blond straws. Glazed iris Roses, your lids unclose to Blue-ringed targets, their dark sheen-spokes almost green. I sink in Blue- black Rose-heart holes until you blink. Pink lips, the serrate folds taste smooth, and Rosehip- round, the center bud I suck. I milknip your two Blue-skeined blown Rose beauties, too, to sniff their berries' blood, up stiff pink tips. You're white in patches, only mostly Rose, buckskin and saltly, speckled like a sky. I love your spots, your white neck, Rose, your hair's wild straw splash, silk spools for your ears. But where white spouts out, spills on your brow to clear eyepools, wheel shafts of light, Rose, you are Blue.
You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it—it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.
But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: "It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish."
It was the summer of Chandra Levy, disappearing from Washington D.C., her lover a Congressman, evasive and blow-dried from Modesto, the TV wondering in every room in America to an image of her tight jeans and piles of curls frozen in a studio pose. It was the summer the only woman known as a serial killer, a ten-dollar whore trolling the plains of central Florida, said she knew she would kill again, murder filled her dreams and if she walked in the world, it would crack her open with its awful wings. It was the summer that in Texas, another young woman killed her five children, left with too many little boys, always pregnant. One Thanksgiving, she tried to slash her own throat. That summer the Congressman lied again about the nature of his relations, or, as he said, he couldn't remember if they had sex that last night he saw her, but there were many anonymous girls that summer, there always are, who lower their necks to the stone and pray, not to God but to the Virgin, herself once a young girl, chosen in her room by an archangel. Instead of praying, that summer I watched television, reruns of a UFO series featuring a melancholic woman detective who had gotten cancer and was made sterile by aliens. I watched infomercials: exercise machines, pasta makers, and a product called Nails Again With Henna, ladies, make your nails steely strong, naturally, and then the photograph of Chandra Levy would appear again, below a bright red number, such as 81, to indicate the days she was missing. Her mother said, please understand how we're feeling when told that the police don't believe she will be found alive, though they searched the parks and forests of the Capitol for the remains and I remembered being caught in Tennessee, my tent filled with wind lifting around me, tornado honey, said the operator when I called in fear. The highway barren, I drove to a truck stop where maybe a hundred trucks hummed in pale, even rows like eggs in a carton. Truckers paced in the dining room, fatigue in their beards, in their bottomless cups of coffee. The store sold handcuffs, dirty magazines, t-shirts that read, Ass, gas or grass. Nobody rides for free, and a bulletin board bore a public notice: Jane Doe, found in a refrigerator box outside Johnson, TN, her slight measurements and weight. The photographs were of her face, not peaceful in death, and of her tattoos Born to Run, and J.T. caught in scrollworks of roses. One winter in Harvard Square, I wandered drunk, my arms full of still warm, stolen laundry, and a man said come to my studio and of course I went— for some girls, our bodies are not immortal so much as expendable, we have punished them or wearied from dragging them around for so long and so we go wearing the brilliant plumage of the possibly freed by death. Quick on the icy sidewalks, I felt thin and fleet, and the night made me feel unique in the eyes of the stranger. He told me he made sculptures of figure skaters, not of the women's bodies, but of the air that whipped around them, a study of negative space, which he said was the where-we-were-not that made us. Dizzy from beer, I thought why not step into that space? He locked the door behind me.
When she says margarita she means daiquiri. When she says quixotic she means mercurial. And when she says, "I'll never speak to you again," she means, "Put your arms around me from behind as I stand disconsolate at the window." He's supposed to know that. When a man loves a woman he is in New York and she is in Virginia or he is in Boston, writing, and she is in New York, reading, or she is wearing a sweater and sunglasses in Balboa Park and he is raking leaves in Ithaca or he is driving to East Hampton and she is standing disconsolate at the window overlooking the bay where a regatta of many-colored sails is going on while he is stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway. When a woman loves a man it is one ten in the morning she is asleep he is watching the ball scores and eating pretzels drinking lemonade and two hours later he wakes up and staggers into bed where she remains asleep and very warm. When she says tomorrow she means in three or four weeks. When she says, "We're talking about me now," he stops talking. Her best friend comes over and says, "Did somebody die?" When a woman loves a man, they have gone to swim naked in the stream on a glorious July day with the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle of water rushing over smooth rocks, and there is nothing alien in the universe. Ripe apples fall about them. What else can they do but eat? When he says, "Ours is a transitional era," "that's very original of you," she replies, dry as the martini he is sipping. They fight all the time It's fun What do I owe you? Let's start with an apology Ok, I'm sorry, you dickhead. A sign is held up saying "Laughter." It's a silent picture. "I've been fucked without a kiss," she says, "and you can quote me on that," which sounds great in an English accent. One year they broke up seven times and threatened to do it another nine times. When a woman loves a man, she wants him to meet her at the airport in a foreign country with a jeep. When a man loves a woman he's there. He doesn't complain that she's two hours late and there's nothing in the refrigerator. When a woman loves a man, she wants to stay awake. She's like a child crying at nightfall because she didn't want the day to end. When a man loves a woman, he watches her sleep, thinking: as midnight to the moon is sleep to the beloved. A thousand fireflies wink at him. The frogs sound like the string section of the orchestra warming up. The stars dangle down like earrings the shape of grapes.