Copyright © 2006 by Nicholas Gordon
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AFTER LOVE AND FEAR,
After love and fear, there’s pride;
After tears, the night;
After all the words are gone,
A chair with just one light.
After memories, the dream
That you will come home safe;
After sleep, another day
Of waiting for my life.
After hope, the happiness
Of thinking of your love;
After moments of despair
A stone no thought can move.
After all the sacrifice,
The hunger and the pain,
The passions and the promises,
The losses and the gains,
There’s nothing but my love for you,
Which waits upon the wind
To bring you from the barricades
That now you must defend.
AFTER YOU LEAVE,
I WILL BECOME A TREE
After you leave, I will become a tree
Alone on a hillside, loving wind and sun,
Waiting for you to return home to me
Though centuries of lonely stars may run.
I’ll grow tall and give lots of shade,
Sheltering birds and other bright-eyed things.
Pleased with all the progress that I’ve made,
I’ll spread my leafy branches out like wings.
But oh! Every moment of every day
I’ll miss you with the passion of the wind,
Gazing endlessly upon the way
That without you must empty, empty wind.
DO NOT LOVE ME YET
Do not love me yet, for I
Am still a slender moon,
A scimitar about the heart
Too sharp to touch too soon.
Before I’m touched I need to grow
More full in golden light;
I need to smile upon my earth
And rule some patch of night.
I need to know what roads and fields
Lie in my domain
And dull my brand new ecstasies
With sophomoric pain.
I need the love of some blank boy
As cold and dark as me,
That we might grope in ignorance
And fear of what might be.
And then, when I’m a silver bowl
And know what I can hold,
Then, then, perhaps, we could try love
If you are not too old.
DO YOU WANT ME?
WHAT’S THE MATTER?
Do you want me? What’s the matter?
You’re afraid some door will close?
You want the scent without the rose?
The moans of love without the chatter?
You think our love might be a tomb,
The only exit through my pain?
You’d rather put things off again
To give your fantasies some room?
You think: she’s great, but in a while
I might get bored? Or something better,
Filling out a tighter sweater,
Might flash me a quick come-on smile?
You don’t want to be tied just yet
To just one future, just one kiss?
You think about all you might miss
And hold out for a better bet?
Well, fine! But then why do you haunt
Me like a jackal night and day?
Why, when my interest seems to stray,
Are you so sure of what you want?
Why, when I dare so much as laugh
At some guy’s jokes, you go ballistic,
Nasty, borderline sadistic,
As if somebody touched your stuff?
And yet when I hook on to you,
You will not let yourself be mine,
Take out your fears and draw a line
Between what you and I can do?
But freedom must be mutual,
And it takes two for one embrace.
You can’t both love and freedom chase,
Unless you would adore a fool.
DREAMS DO COME TRUE
Dreams do come true, but only when
They make it through despair,
Limping into everyday
Transformed beyond repair.
No dream would be a dream if it
Could pass for something real,
Nor would we sail for paradise
Would it its shoals conceal.
So it is with love: the dream
Long longed for, now possessed,
Must be a dream no longer, but
An emperor undressed.
Stark naked it must come to us
In unaccustomed shame,
And we must take it in our arms
And love it all the same.
And we must love love as it is
That dreams might still come true,
Mangled into miracles
To make our lives anew.