H e a r t S o n s & H e a r t D a u g h t e r s of A l l e n G i n s b e r g
N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 4 : A r c h i v e s E d i t i o n
Only for a while do we warm ourselves
With flowers & bluebirds & grieving.
Shekhina, you are the midwife of illness
& weddings & all that is sparks & pregnant
& all that is elbows & kisses & semen.
You accompany exile’s wretched longing
To consummate the soul’s deep-plum sunken glee.
You are all that is lightheadedness & insomnia
& that which is missing & that which reveals
Wherever we were, whatever planet.
Your voice is that of a sick person,
A dried-up sea, the dark furniture of sighs,
The melancholy elegance of rusted piers
& light which is always changing, always fleeting,
The sun that rakes the sidewalk in geometries
Of impossibly thin shadows
That glide into the orange dusk,
Into the inner chambers & inner sanctums
Winged & nude & beyond the remoteness of
The iron shouting of the world.
In the vagina of centuries,
Your body is an alphabet of blood
& quarantines & testicles & pent-up sobs,
Candles & thick milk, the bread of thighs,
The alabaster smell of humility, ribs,
Black lightning, the hooves of silence concealed
Within the concealed of the concealed within.
It is you who carry us to the sapphire mountains,
You whose feet go down to death.
Nowhere on earth is void of your gown of erections.
You are the hours & weeks yoked to honey & bandages,
The elegance of hovels, the mansions of poverty.
When cities tremble with rain, it is you speaking—
Filling that impossible distance between solitude’s
Round flaming window of amorous throbbing,
Its ladders & palaces that float by & arms of pain
& realms of repentance & realms of copulation.
Abrupt, you lean against the roots of air
As we choose something personal,
Something mutual, something indescribable,
& opening to every crevice, every uncharted beloved
That falls through the skin
Of the violet tides of our frenzied nothingness.
In the wet green rhythm at the heart of absence,
It is you who knows the violence that comes
To each life, who touches us
When we wished to die, when we wanted to live.
As we remember the face of weeping
You are here like a synagogue made from a dress,
Like a mother waking up in the middle of the night
to bake a dark creamy-brown chocolate cake.
When we lie down in dust,
You are the dust of premonitions
From where begins our love over again.
18 February–18 March 1996
[Originally published in NHS 1996, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs96/index.html#27.]