Thursday, July 19, 2012

Poem 8 - Other Lives and Dimensions and Finally a Love Poem

I have enjoyed this poem for a long, long time. I’ve read it so many times, I’ve memorized parts of it. I love its pacing, its line breaks, and its overall pensive feel. It’s also a love poem, but not a traditional one.

Other Lives and Dimensions and Finally a Love Poem
Bob Hicok

My left hand will live longer than my right. The rivers
     of my palms tell me so.
Never argue with rivers. Never expect your lives to finish
     at the same time. I think

praying, I think clapping is how hands mourn. I think
     staying up and waiting
for paintings to sigh is science. In another dimension this
     is exactly what’s happening,

it’s what they write grants about: the chromodynamics
     of mournful Whistlers,
the audible sorrow and beta decay of “Old Battersea Bridge.”
     I like the idea of different

theres and elsewheres, an Idaho known for bluegrass,
     a Bronx where people talk
like violets smell. Perhaps I am somewhere patient, somehow
     kind, perhaps in the nook

of a cousin universe I’ve never defiled or betrayed
     anyone. Here I have
two hands and they are vanishing, the hollow of your back
     to rest my cheek against,

your voice and little else but my assiduous fear to cherish.
     My hands are webbed
like the wind-torn work of a spider, like they squeezed
     something in the womb

but couldn’t hang on. One of those other worlds
     or a life I felt
passing through mine, or the ocean inside my mother’s belly
     she had to scream out.

Here when I say “I never want to be without you,”
     somewhere else I am saying
“I never want to be without you again.” And when I touch you
     in each of the places we meet

in all of the lives we are, it’s with hands that are dying
     and resurrected.
When I don’t touch you it’s a mistake in any life,
     in each place and forever.

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