Peter Wesley is returning to poetry after a long absence. His next work, "Fear of Butterflies, a Redux", is due out in lafe Fall. He lives and works in Chicago. Visit him online at http://peterwesleysblog.blogspot.com/.
From Fear of Butterflies, Part I: This is Berlin
By Peter Wesley
Love is not a statement of fact, not
a condition of being in place when we should, not
the promise of anything simple when asked, but
not a question at all but where we belong. Love
should ask for nothing in trade, no touch when
no touch must be had, the deepest touch
when we are one in ourselves and each other.
Love is not a game because competition has losers.
Love only knows loss when its gone forever, but
love never really goes, only stands on its head
itself and laughs, for, if love is perfect it knows humor.
Love is the look in the eyes of an animal,
our animal selves reborn in an instant
or for years a fear runs away into everyone's night.
Love gives nothing to those who ask everything,
does not woo for pleasure or the gain of company
that should not be there. Loves askes nothing.
Tells nothing. Receives nothing. Touches nothing.
But does everything even in a second, or hour,
or day, week, year, lifetime.
"Entschuldigen Sie, Bitte. Lesen Sie der Dichter Rilke?"
"Ma'am, I don't speak German. Sorry." He backs away.
"Nein. Nein. Das Buch im seinen Hand. Die
Duineser Elegien von Rilke, ja?"
"This? Yes this is a German poet. But it's in English.
Do you speak English?"
"Ich verstehe Sie nicht. Aber Lesen zu mir das Dichten.
He couldn't understand her but knew what she wanted.
He read to her of the terrifying angels, Neptune's
trident, not to woo Spring for it does not understand.
He knew she felt the words like the wings of a hummingbird
not seen but always there in motion. Violet streams
engulfed them, became them. She remembered
her first lover, reading Die Sonette an Orpheus
on the Danube, cold Autumn morning the night
filled with full and empty colors.
She would rise to close the window.
He would fall back to himself, saying no.
She would rise above his cot and point down.
He would fall, he'd thought, if he came towards her.
She would rise to meet him, knowing if
he would fall she could catch his touch.
He would rise to meet her, seeing her soft eyes.
She would fall in billowing hair and perfection.
He would rise and drop into her, scared that
she would fall on the floor and disappear.
He would rise to her deeper sight and passions,
she would fall in love for a moment and then
she would turn and rise turn and rise to meet him
he would turn and fall to her depths and caresses
she would turn and rise to explode his terrors
he would turn and fall and explode into hers.
He would turn to feel his heart as it would rise,
she would turn let her tears fall into his eyes.