If I ever fall in love with whoever you are
and you, poor fool, fall for that old trick too.
And then later, after sheets strewn with
feathers and hide from some poor beast
who died to give us pleasure, like that one guy
who died to clean up our sins but missed a few spots
if after those sheets somehow still on the bed
and perhaps broken plaster, we ever
put on our armor again, thumbing passports
at the back of immigration lines, you in a city
reclaimed from the sea, and me? a raised swamp
or wet valed mountains where I’ll bury my skull
and we decide, because love is best when it ends
in glory, not in tears, and feathers and anyway
I forget why we’re talking on love
because I still haven’t learned how to breathe
through you or to even hear your voice past
what you say, to what they never hear
Oh! Sorry. Across oceans, stern women checking our papers
which are like feathers and sheets, unstrewn
unlike the words I’m always leaving around
after we were fools and fell in love, and picked ourselves up
from such silly endeavors, perhaps we can part not here
but there, some third port neither yours nor mine
not because I know how this goes, or even what we do
with all those feathers we’re collecting in cities
where we’ll only find more, and shrug, thinking
that all our talk of love was too serious for our souls
a third port, please, because my city and yours
should always wait away, so we can end this
before it ever began, know where we leave off
the final pages of the book I told you I wouldn’t read
running ahead long before I even said words
you’re warning me not to mean. And anyway, I can never
be your sweat-soaked shirt as you run. That was silly
because I meant only, I’d like to feel your sweat
soaking into me, leaving feathers, worn leather
at an airport, somewhere far, but neither mine–
as I leave back into forward, the plan all along–or yours
and you become what you ought.
Perhaps I helped, maybe, you’ll think, standing at that window
like the beautiful way you buy yoghurt (I’ll never tell)
and perhaps I helped too.
Why were we talking of love, when what I’d meant to say
and you are obscured in memory, like that dream
and that other, and I start to wonder why you’re here?
But you’re also there, and so am I, across an ocean, waiting
for strange men to check our names and dreams
to see if we are worthy.
You know this is really bad poetry, but I’m drunk, and
as I said, I was thinking, that when we finally leave
(if that isn’t now–I cannot tell)
it be in some third port, because we got talking of love
but you don’t yet know that I hate, more than anything
her voice, reminding, that you cannot smoke
And all the names, expertly pronounced, who are not yet
at the gate, taking them from those they do not know
or do, their stories aren’t ours, but there they are
Hayakawa, Abdul, Gerhardt and Smith, but all you
really want is to smoke, but you can’t, because she said
two minutes ago, and two minutes from now
And more names, and you’re not staying, nor is their plane
except for a moment, ‘you are delaying the flight,’
and all they want is a cigarette.
Like me, there, in that place where you’ll likely go, and I
elsewhere, holding a passport in hand, and
feather in pocket, or in ear.
We were talking on love, and that’s too serious for
what we’ll eventually do, part over oceans in boxes
where you cannot smoke, or dream,
but it doesn’t matter, because that’s everything after.
You are delaying the flight, she says, and I
say fuck you let them smoke, because maybe
I should really tell you what I mean.
If we don’t part now, then for the love of gods
and feathers, and sweat-soaked shirts, then fuck
don’t make me say good-bye at Schiphol.
I’ll not delay your flight, but you should know
we should leave elsewhere, if not here, because
I really fucking hate that fucking airport.