Twenty Questions

Has the darkness lifted?
Is the round bud of the maple not filled with longing?

How close can a room hold two, not speaking or touching?
Does every thought glint, is every fire stolen?

Is everything in the world immersed in the petroleum of desire?
Have the clocks been wound, has the coffeemaker been unplugged?

Has the crying from behind the keyhole subsided?
Do you see where the fabric holds the shape of shoulders?

Do you feel how the music rinses us clear?
Has the rain fed you with riddles?

Have I not been permeable to everything that has come?
Would you tell me where to lay this burden down?

Do you love the sweetness that precedes decay?
Do you love the light behind every green blade?

Do you love me homely?
Do you take me plain?

Have I not met you at every detour?
Can you tell me what it is that brings you back?

Each time, have we bent our heads to drink the water?
Would you lie here with me beneath this ceiling of stars?

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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9 Comments


  1. I was enjoying the playfulness of this, but at the end I decided that this is gorgeous.

    “Has the crying from behind the keyhole subsided?
    Do you see where the fabric holds the shape of shoulders?

    Do you feel how the music rinses us clear?
    Has the rain fed you with riddles?”

    Such a light touch, and not overly clever. The wording and sound still wins out. I love this.

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  2. I believe this is one of the best poems on Via Negativa. Pablo Neruda (The Book of Questions) has nothing on Luisa.

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    1. Your comparison (though comparisons should never be made) with Neruda is not far fetched. This is the poetry I love.

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  3. “Do you see where the fabric holds the shape of shoulders?” – Beautiful!

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  4. “Have I not met you at every detour?/ Can you tell me what it is that brings you back?…/ Each time, have we bent our heads to drink the water?/ Would you lie here with me beneath this ceiling of stars?”

    ANSWERS

    Each detour is also a question:
    Should I stay, leave, or just decay?
    Too many daggers can only pierce
    so much or so deep they crumple
    before they reach a coup de grace.
    I have but one heart to wound,
    it is all I have, all I can give or will. No more.

    But call this a punch-bag syndrome,
    and I come back like coming back
    has run out of style. I come home
    for more rending, more hurts like
    these were the only way I could steel
    a trembling and fearful heart that
    it might beat with a more puissant throb
    and pump life to what has gone moribund.

    Because this longing has parched my tongue,
    I come back to drink of the salving water
    that once pulsed out of our home’s wellspring.
    I can only be brave then to lie down
    with you beneath this ceiling of stars.

    —Albert B. Casuga
    04-10-11

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    1. Some terrrific lines here, Albert. I especially liked “I come back like coming back/ has run out of style.” I would probably have written “stronger” rather than “more puissant,” though — the latter seems unnecessarily Latinate and affected.

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      1. “Puissant”. Was trying to use a sound that suggested the weakened heart flow, while at the same time using sibilants to objectify a bit of self-loathing. Yes, “stronger” is less affected. Thaks, D.

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        1. Good to know you had a solid reason for it — and of course mine is just one reader’s reaction. Many poets delight in more difficult words; that’s a valid path, too.

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