Horrible Bliss

Very surely I’ve been remiss
To imagine you, darling, like this!
Oh, the melded hours have cruelly conspired
To strand me in ecstasies of longing—which I so desired!—
To abandon me to oceans of thoughts of your kiss—
It’s a breathless caress, plunged in the shuddering abyss;
Oh, darling, what bitter elation—what horrible bliss!

I’ve made lists which contain nothing but your name!
And of what else could they consist?—
What trouble (and, darling, I won’t go to the trouble!) to refrain;
What futile effort to resist!
Ah, far better to swell the sweet lips that you kissed,
To contort the figure with longing; to twist
Fingers through yours—ah, better to lie thigh against thigh with you,
Than even to exist!
I beg the honeyed compulsion to adore you—persist!

The nights are long and lovely.
Ah, look at the pale network of stars in the bowl of brazen sky;
It grows like splintered shale at its edge;
Ah, the end draws nigh.
But now—skin brushed against skin in measurable centimeters lie you and I—(we lie!)
So—Let it not pass by!—Not with ease;
Let me trace the shape of your hand pressed against my breast in the cool breeze.
Yes—like that I’m longing to miss you—yes, I’m going to freeze!
Ah, yours remain the stunningly known eyes that mine search for—yours is the hand I seize—
And, yes, from my knees I gaze up at you—and you are the half-thought that leaves—
And which upon waking I miss—
It’s full of yearning to touch you—to even brush my fingers across your lips—to insist—
It’s nothing but a brief intrigue;
It’s nothing but a tryst! No—it isn’t anything at all—
It’s horrible bliss!

It’s enough to subsist! It’s a morass; it’s become a bitter mire.
Why, in the night in the sweet midst do you resist;
Do you tire?
I think I’m on fire;
I think you’re making me into a liar!
Why, I never made up so many things before.
Why, I think that night we were together it was too pure!
And why did you treat me like that—as if I were worth fighting for!
Better to have treated me like a whore!

Ah, it seemed secure!
Ah, it’s always better for a woman to remain demure.
Because there’s no cure—
And the shameful longing shall endure long after the last wasted allure!
(Long after the final moments of the production—the last bitter green drops of seduction.)
I think I’m getting poor—in the sense that the spites begin to outweigh the delights!
Ah, I think I still need the twisted sheet the open window the cold bottle of prosecco from the grocery store in Capri and your stifled plea the sweet nights!

No, it wasn’t a plea. It was only the low throb of your touch the summer night that carried with it muted pleasure.
It was the color of pearl; of
Waves of white sand!
And as effervescent;
I caught the words; the little waves of intimacy between us in the palm of my hand
Yet when I opened it they had but dissolved into the blue substance of the land.
Ah, to cling to bubbling glittering memories that go with the wind—
Ah, to shut the whimpering past into its iron prisons;
To adore the futures yet risen—ignore the screaming histories locked away!
Ah, to greet without regret the bright and burnished new day!

Yes—surely, my darling—I’ve been remiss
To imagine you like this.
It’s been an ocean of unbearable
It’s been terrible seasons—it’s been legions of bliss.
Go from me with a kiss—
And leave me to these volumes of craving;
And leave me to this shattering slaving.
Ah, the words have built the sturdy walls of castles around me;
Ah, they use my very dreams now to drown me.
Ah—what fancy I have indulged, what woe;
Ah, I only made of myself my own foe—

No!—Back to the room and the wide window and the salt that clung to the air;
Back to the hallowed ecstasy of the fabled affair!
—No, the hollowed ecstasy. It was spooned out of the devotion I cherished for you; it was left to congeal in a pool on the floor—
It was orange in color; it disappeared under the door!
Back to before. Yes, I was young, and yes, I couldn’t write!
Back to the thin bed in the cold Roman night—
It’s trouble now to light the thoughts;
They are damp, they’re contrite!
Ah—they grow strange—who was it that wrote that the memory obsessed for grows deranged?
(It was Nabokov. I’m almost sure of it.)
No, like acid it scorches the brain; it leaves one even mildly insane—the crushing pain!—no, it is better, far better, not to reminisce.
It is dangerous to look back to you—to the moments I was surely close to you.
What inimitable beauty it has been to love you!
What horrible bliss!


◄ The Fish

Strawberry Punch ►


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