My lovers are not literary types.
They are labourers on building sites.
They build houses and dig drains.
They do not sip champagne.
I want their strong arms to pin me to the bed.
I want them to enjoy me without romance,
simply, the way they take their beer and bread.
I want to make them hard and make them dance.
They do not own a tie or fancy shirts, or a single suit.
Their bodies have an earthy scent
or reek of cheap cologne like Brut.
Their hands are rough and thick and elegant.
They're not so hot at grammar, except in bed
where I don't want much of anything said.
Sometimes they don't wash, but breathe me in
as if my skin were made of oxygen.
They trail a tang of sweat and stale tobacco everywhere.
Unfinished at the edges, they don't wear underwear.
All they do is belch and fuck and hawk and fart.
They can't tell the difference between their prick and their heart.
Buddhas of Bamiyan,
like the Venus de Milo,
are much more beautiful without their feet
but if your gaze soars upwards
how not too upward? How?
The Buddhas of Bamiyan
cannot compete with an authentic God,
should never bear the face of even the false God.
You, who are as arrogant as the usual man,
may love more deeply the pity of a headless,
footless Buddha of Bamiyan
- even doubly so.
You, who can meditate only bodily,
don't deserve the pelvis of Buddha.
God is the greatest practitioner of art
and her favourite sculpture is a modest man.
Like the Venus de Milo
(if you are the man who dwells on her),
the twin Buddhas of Bamiyan,
armless, can still embrace Afghanistan unbroken,
embrace those who would rather die than keep
each Buddha from divinity:
its vanishing trick.
You who have a mind to, who can think as loftily
as the Buddhas of Bamiyan, can miss them but let them go.
Imagine all the fragments whole again,
and our signature on the empty sky.
(designed by Roebling and
finished by his daughter-in-law Emily)
This one's mine: not a nail-less
Bridge of Sighs
nor a stage, where enemies or film crews shoot
but trembling on a net of "wheres" and "whys",
part Asses' Bridge, part Al-Sirat, less Iron Brute,
more hunkering church, grown from
its cables spun from spiders bred in books.
That dark harp was made for me to play.
And however dark, I couldn't help but look
at ever darker slights, their
height and girth
stringing me high above the traffic's hum.
I was harnessed by a yoke of fear, from birth,
less myself while adding to that sum -
the way the architect's now ailing
laid her father's body, right across the water
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