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it is a house of silence where I have lived
where no sound is heard

living was silence too
and so was her love silent and distant

at times yes we touched and there was
perhaps imagined

the sound of tea being served splashing in the cup
but tea is transparent and leaves no taste

tea? there is no tea she said smiling
you only thought we had tea

it was a home of silence a home of distances
for she was not with me

she remained across the room sewing and
the sound of a needle pushing through fabric
the sounds of two silent people

it was not my house
my house is filled with the noise of animals

nails on parquet walking across a woman's voice
coming soft through the walls of my house

here no one speaks no bird chirps and
scissors are set down on velvet

doors glide open in my house
moving water sounds from a fish tank
teacups are set clicking on saucers
birds chirp as though in pain

animals breathe and tea is poured and candles
groan as they burn

there is no time in this house
no time to pour tea in because it pours splashing
no time in which a bird may sing because
there is no tea splashing and no bird singing

tea has been served
there have been voices speaking low
a kitten had chirped

and she had withdrawn to another room handstitching
and so I came away speaking and she remained
stitching into a silent distance

her hair does not move in the wind
but white remains close upon her skull in silence

I am not allowed to touch her hair

white eyes teeth skin teeth hair teeth eyes
teeth skin and the teeth

I do not love white
my own skin and hair are as brown as life is

and there was no dirt no sound no proximity
no suggestion of time no hearts beating
no eyes blinking tears on the lid edges

we did not build fires but instead
removed paper from the fireplace where
it often accumulated

fire makes smoke, she often said to me

high last night I saw you
somehow you came at me out of powdered glass
all colors of it, cutting

you were excited with glass
and steel pins in your chromium skull grinning
like a manic cadillac

honey, I saw you up swinging
and so excited it came out of your eyes blue
like marbles

chipping into my hallucination

"The window is broken now, can you see?"

"It is simple. We will replace the glass. No one will know. It is simple. I have done it before."

It was simple that it, the window, was finally broken, dawn had broken it in: she hadn't wanted the glass scattered across the room, not like this, all across her deep white rug, slivers, sharp, sparkling in the pile of the deep white rug, impossible to see, only fragments of light, not like this, and her bare feet, her bare foot, her foot as she swings her legs over the edge of the bed, her bed, not like this, groping for a cigarette, not like this, her foot searching for a slipper, not like this, the window half open, broken in, not like this, the glass scattered across the room, not like this, impossible to see, groping for a slipper, groping for a match, not like this, not like this, she hadn't thought it would be like this.

Dark room, white rug, glass sparkling in the pile, bare feet, dawn beyond, not like this.

"I hadn't thought of the glass."

"Just like you, all you thought of was dawn."

Dawn, was she that, even that, then, before? She tried to remember, sucking on the cigarette, tried to, sitting on the edge of the bed, her bed, her rug, her bare feet, shivering, tried to, dawn.

Close the window, close it, and glass now.

Bare feet as she runs blindly to slam the window closed, glass showering into the rug, finer than one could impossible see.

Herself pulling a robe about her, moving through the dark room, across the white rug, bare feet sinking into the pile, closing the window, glass sifting down.

She rushes to the window, robe flying back, glass falling.

She remains alone on the edge of the bed, her bed, considering her feet, the rug, the window half open in the dark room, and the dawn beyond, glass falling.

"Thinking of dawn, before?"

And I have left you far behind in that violent city you built, too far for my returning, I tell myself.

Suddenly (now) I am able to remember these things: you are standing looking down through the window into the dark street, your shoulders are shivering beneath my hands, you are talking.

A man was dying outside, you could feel him somewhere dying out there, alone and violent, spasms against a brick wall, monochrome, and we could not help him. And so I closed the window, drew the shade, and led you to the bed.

I made love to you while you were thinking of that man dying somewhere.

Abruptly, I remember these things clicking in that dark room: you are shifting my weight and the weight of that anonymous death about the narrow bed spasmodically. Suddenly and with great humility I can hear your sigh and the click of your mechanism: orgasm, dissociation: monochrome, click, intense color: a man wheeling and hawking against the wall, stumbling.

You open your eyes, the shade releases, and streetlight fills the room. "There is too much light for this," you breathe. And yes, there is too much clarity in the reality of this; so we turned from each other, haunted by the man we could not hear, dying out there somewhere.

her throat
eyes and teeth are bared
in sleep

bitter laughing
is in her dreams
she is not alone there

elbows and knees

protrude in her bed
out of narrow sleep

I loved her damp and immediate mouth
pressed upon a kitchen window
imprisoning dawn to one side of my memory

young woman
don't wash my love down a horrible throat
when in another city you wash your teeth
young woman don't wash down how I feel for you

a wind is blowing out the way I feel
and with some flowers whose names I can't remember
comes in your voice

your voice
and the taste of flowers
some blue some yellow

a small train pumps across
the landscape of flowers
the flowers of your voice

I hear no sounds now
only that taste of flowers and a small locomotive
drawing us to a holiday and the sun above
some flowers

an empty train returning
and we remain among flowers I'm there with you

a wind blows out
candles burn quickly as sunset and hands tremble
colors soften as she dances past my summer
and I am held captive in a window over love

was love when
clicking lips where wet and dancing tongue
with sunrise windows hanging cracked begun

no love was in her voice her eyes
love lies within her hair within his eyes
and birds flying at the window

within her hair her hands moving about his hair
a kitten moving about the door and music
and her hands and his

and her eyes looking

then somehow summer
with candles near a shattered window and
scattered hairpins where they fell
a movement in a window seen from the sidewalk
and a curtain lifting

and birds at the windows and
my hands and your eyes looking

outside these windows now I see blinded birds
that sing moving across my field of vision
never flying because it rains

the intrepid kitten pads softly on the sand now
at the brink of the world

where is the she who I once remembered
smiling lips are silent and sealed against
my memory

no sounds come from her
music from another room muffled
birds not my soul

voices out of context things breaking up
thin wrists and fingers crossing across my field
of vision

there was such
silent sadness summer even holding you
I wasn't holding you

spring you smiled
bringing spring laughing and green to me
but then it was summer and sun and distant sullen
silent hallucinations
upset and heavily absorbed into your dreams
I could not sleep watching your sleep where
distant and mute your anxious dreams were spread
across that narrow gaunt and hollowed sleep

magnificent trembling lunging steed
my insane fingers once plunged with greed
into the slathering depths of your rich sporran
and fumbled wildly about your lathering mane
but now my tumbling beast now now my fine
and troubled mind lingers and remains behind
to stumble and drown in the foam and fleece
of that memory

there are no more of these birds
singing in this city now
they sleep in furnished rooms with views
over their trees

their wings stirring in soft dreams
not here where I walk among vacant trees

and where is the she who brings bringing into trees
birds and spring and reason

no small suns move no green things

she there smiled bringing you
who brings bringing into trees birds and song

hear me pounding ringing suns
she opens opens and they come bringing brings
and I cannot forget how there was the she
who brings my bringing mood

trees of birds of love of
have I never heard you tell me how I love you love
I love you bringing trees of birds
and where are you?

Berkeley, 1963

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