composing movements of heartbreak

“The female doesn’t want a rich or a handsome man or even a poet, she wants a man who understands her eyes if she gets sad, and points to his chest and says: Here is your home country.”

– Nizar Qabbani

Tell me it was for the hunger
& nothing less. For hunger is to give
the body what it knows

it cannot keep. That this amber light
whittled down by another war
is all that pins my hand

to your chest.

You, drowning
between my arms —

(Ocean Vuong)

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.

(Jack Gilbert)

Heartbreak in four parts (movements, aptly) — borrowing others’ words until I can arrange my own:

Tonight all sorts of ends
shift into view, as
lightning jerks around

the clouds. I could sink
into a certain comfort
here, just disappear

Yet I sense the goddess
gearing up to create
and destroy

with one great arc
of her arm. Just don’t
touch me, not yet, or

not here. Something inside
feels broken, a number
that can no longer be

dialed. I have desired
so many times and so many
things, by some law of no

return. But I trust I will live
in my skin again, if life
is sweet and long.

(Maggie Nelson)

don’t be afraid.
The end of the road is so far ahead
it is already behind us.
Don’t worry.

Like how the spine
won’t remember its wings
no matter how many times our knees
kiss the pavement.

Don’t worry. Just call it horizon
& you’ll never reach it.
Here’s today. Jump. I promise it’s not
a lifeboat. Here’s the man
whose arms are wide enough to gather
your leaving.
get up. The most beautiful part of your body
is where it’s headed. & remember,
loneliness is still time spent
with the world. Here’s
the room with everyone in it.
Yes, here’s a room
so warm & blood-close,
I swear, you will wake—
& mistake these walls
for skin.

(Ocean Vuong)

But of course
there are all different kinds of

and the kind that is most precious
you will not hear much talked about
in the great outside world of
winning and achieving and displaying.

The really important kind of freedom involves attention,
and awareness, and discipline, and
effort, and

being able truly to care about other people and
to sacrifice for them,

over and over,

in myriad
unsexy ways, everyday.

This is real freedom.

(David Foster Wallace)

We name us and then we are lost, tamed
I choose words, more words, to cure the tameness, not the wildness

(Alice Notley)

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