"Cardinal Points" litetrary journal: www.stosvet.net

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J. Kates

DESIRES




Critique

                                            for S.B.

Poems should make, at least, a good prose sense,
my teacher said, echoing Ezra Pound
or Robert Frost, to disciples in our dozens
both unknown and now very well renowned.
It is the world we echo that we create.

"How sleepy and pleased are the turning faces of trees,"
you write from far away, while at my window
a four-man crew, shouting in Portuguese,
takes down a towering silver maple that's grown
too rotten for the neighbors to tolerate.



Dawn Song


O body, we lie here locked
in an inseparable embrace
while hands circle the clock face
twelve times faster than the sun
like a lover's deliberate chase
over another's body.

It is second best to lie alone
in bed, but to be rung out
like an old year every morning at
the same time is worst of all —
thinking of the chopped dreams
we drop in a second

when the alarm sounds. Body,
I am already up, gone
into the world you brood on,
spitefully dragging you with me
to shower in the cold dawn
naked, shivering, arm in arm.



Desires


We talked all night long about writing —
the fat woman, you and I and the blonde
student I wouldn't mind getting alone
for a weekend: Gretchen to my Faust.

We talked all night long about writing
and it snowed like hell but didn't stick.
The blonde girl said she wanted medical
coverage, and the fat woman wanted kids.

We talked all night long about writing,
and I know what you want is recognition
with faculty status and a book
or two like stiff drinks under your belt,

and I'd take the same, either way,
but what I wouldn't mind more than anything
are words set down to make a difference
to me, to the fat woman and the blonde girl

and, of course, to you, but not just you.
We talked all night long about writing
like characters in somebody's famous book
dedicated to the author's wife.