Linda Gregg in her element, in a nicely pressed top
As I pull the bucket from the crude well,
the water changes from dark to a light
more silver than the sun. When I pour it
over my body that is standing in the dust
by the oleander bush, it sparkles easily
in the sunlight with an earnestness like
the spirit close up. The water magnifies
the sun all along the length of it.
Love is not less because of the spirit.
Delight does not make the heart childish.
We thought the blood thinned, our weight
lessened, that our substance was reduced
by simple happiness. The oleander is thick
with leaves and flowers because of spilled
water. Let the spirit marry the heart.
When I return naked to the stone porch,
there is no one to see me glistening.
But I look at the almond tree with its husks
cracking open in the heat. I look down
the whole mountain to the sea. Goats bleating
faintly and sometimes bells. I stand there
a long time with the sun and the quiet,
the earth moving slowly as I dry in the light.
To Be Here
The February road to the river is mud
and dirty snow, tire tracks and corncobs
uncovered by the mildness. I think I am
living alone and that I am not afraid.
Love is those birds working hard at flying
over the mountain going somewhere else.
Fidelity is always about what we have
already lived. I am happy, kicking snow.
The trees are the ones to honor. The trees
and the broken corn. And the clear sky
that looks like rain is falling through it.
Not a pretty spring, but the real thing.
The old weeds and the old vegetables.
Winter's graceful severity melting away.
I don't think the dead will speak.
I think they are happy just to be here.
If they did, I imagine them saying
birds flying, twigs, water reflecting.
There is only this. Dead weeds waiting
uncovered to the quiet soft day.
Kept Burning and Distant
You return when you feel like it,
like rain. And like rain you are tender,
with the rain's inept tenderness.
A passion so general I could be anywhere.
You carry me out into the wet air.
You lay me down on the leaves
and the strong thing is not the sex
but waking up alone under the trees after.
Sacraments of Desire
Sweetheart and I once upon a time
had an evening meal with Linda Gregg
and she asked me if she could sign a copy
of her book I had with me — and now that
she is gone, I am happy she did, adding a bit of
decorative scroll to her inscription which seemed
to be part of our all together get together. In another
twist of fate, she could have been one of the Beats,
but her beautiful working mind was always in the clouds.
[ BA ]