Wear Me Passionate

The Poems of Christopher Leibow

The Home I Will Build For You

 
for Sveta

Let me tell you of the home I will build for you my love. I will build
you a fine home where the front door is made of laughter and when you
knock on the door it giggles and asks the knocker to stop knocking,
because being a door made from laughter, it tends to be ticklish, and
it would be greatly appreciative if they, the knocker, would be so
disposed as to use the door bell.

Once inside our home, visitors will be inclined to notice the special
wallpaper that runs down the length of the West facing hallway.  This
is a very rare wallpaper that I will have to travel far and wide to
find, it being made of butterflies.  Every visitor will attempt get
closer to look at the patterns of this paper, and as their curious
noses get closer, the butterflies will become startled and being held
to the paper by only the whispers of love, they will take flight; then
all of a sudden the front room of our home will be swarming with
butterflies of so many colors, like flying flowers from a botanist’s
illustrated book.  I can see it now.

Once the flutters stop fluttering, our visitors will find their way
into the main room which is centered on and large dinning room table
with a menagerie of chairs encircling it and by a lovely kitchen.
The table is large so large there is a coin operated telescope at one
end.   Most visitors will be startled when pressing their eye into the
eye piece they are able to see their long lost loves smiling and
dancing around the table.  At the other end of the longest table,
there will be another coin operated telescope, this one looking back
and them.  Everyone will be startled love, when they see their younger
self looking back at them.

Now let me describe the chair at the head of the table.  This chair
will be made by peculiar craftsman that I have found living in a
village in Algeria. it will be made from the light of the setting sun
that set in Skikdah, on a certain day when joy was especially
prevalent.   We will need to invent special spectacles so that the
ornate designs that I will have carved into the sun chair by the
smiles of summer children playing in the sea refusing to come home
when they are called by their parents, can be appreciated without
squinting.

The chair at the other end of the table, will be, of course as you
know, made from the moonlight that cast shadows across our faces the
night we first met; that same moon that all the flying fish tried to
coax closer to the sea with their aerial acrobatics and their daring
feats of flying that made you say,
“ahhhhhhh.”

Now to the chairs sitting on either side of the table, these I will
make of worn stone that I will borrow from country fireplaces; those
stones that have been polished smooth by generations of stories about
love, and adventure, those stones that warmed every imagination  till
the last ember popped and closed its eyes, tired as the rest of the
family.

And then there will be the kitchen.  Here will be hearth and heart of
our home, where the cabinets will be made of the same material as the
front door; they being cousins, and of course as you have always said,
“What kitchen is worth its salt with out laughter?”

I see you wrestling a hot wind back under a pot, since our stove will
work by winds, zealous Zephyrs from Greece and Solicitous Siroccos
from the Saharan sands and Leveches out of Libya, their
mischievousness not always appreciated when they are supposed to be
warming the butter. You will smile and flinging the little zephyrs
under the pan.  You are the Queen of the home I will build you.

While you cook for our myriad of guests, I will show them the rest of
our home.  I will show them the room that is just for old umbrellas
and the room just for birdsong.  I will show them the library filled
with our writing and with low voices singing love and stories never
heard before and where angels will chase each other among the folios.
I will show them the attic made of glass so that in the end all of
life’s secretes will be revealed.   I will show them our bedroom and
they will be impressed by the soft and billowing bed I have made for
us, from your nights dreams and our love sighs.   And of course the
headboard will also too be made from the same material as the door
that delights with its random laughter.

From our room to the spare bedroom, this room will be well welcoming
to anyone who wants to stay over, even with the small cloud sulking in
the corner. I will tell our guests about the rules of the home where
the inappropriate use of thunder and lightening from a small cloud
indoors is never allowed, especially thunder and lightening that is
meant only to torment the cats.  Young clouds are in need of an
appropriate time out from time to time.

Oh the home I will build for you and the room we will build for our
child, ahhhh this room cannot be described my love, because there are
no words in any language to describe this room.  I have looked in odd
and diverse Encyclopedias, corresponded with architects of mysterious
buildings and dark women of letters, and to no avail.  Let it be as
the Gypsy King said

“Let music not words be the way to show what the beauty of this room will be.”
Alas, can you hear it my love?

Lastly I will build our garden. Many will be impressed with the
fountains and the peacocks whose hundred eyes of their feathers will
tell the future of our guests and by the fireflies and humming birds
that will chase each other around the yard.  The yard will be filled
with the sound of small chimes, each flown around by dragonflies and
the tinkling caused by their constant play of near misses and proofs
of daring.  And this, this will only be possible because of you my
love and  your patience, for  the hummingbirds, fireflies and
dragonflies will,  eventually after much deliberation, will always do
as you request.

Many will be speechless and will not know what to say when they
visiting the home I will build for you and fewer still will understand
that this is not just a home, but is my portrait of you.

 

The Exile Reinaldo Garcia Ramos

Habana – I must leave you!
because the night clanks through
your dark streets, mechanical

and the night is dragging itself sparking
against the stones of the streets and its sparks
are only an approximation of stars,

Because of your numerous eyes  I have
sold my typewriter; and scribble these
line inside my head. Everyone’s fields

have started to burn, even my field is aflame
with the books that I have written or should
have written, tonight the hills have an eerie glow

of war, while the inside and the outside
of apartment walls argue, jealous of the other
not knowing the difference hasn’t mattered

for years.  I am tired of all this! Habana,
I must leave you. Hurry we must pack
our shadows, and our shirts. O how our words

have become palsied, ours has become a sad
language of gestures and daily white flags.
 Hurry we must leave before our words fail us

we must leave my love, everyone has gone before us,
by grave or by sea even the moon has left
as a stowaway on a borrowed boat.

On Being Balthazar #13

Balthazar’s father is sitting in the chair with its back to the front door, weeping.  This makes Balthazar very uncomfortable. He walks slowly past him, opening the screen door slowly and once past the threshold, takes off in a flash.  The screen door slams back against the door frame with its tinny thud.  Balthazar’s father shaken by the sudden noise hurriedly wipes the tears from his eyes, “Balthazar is that you?”  But Balthazar is already across the lawn and entering the backwoods.  Walking through shadow and light Balthazar thinks of adults crying.  He never saw an adult cry before, not one and was trying to understand why he ran.  Maybe it’s because, he thought, that once you grew up and were an adult, all that crying stuff would be over. He thought about it a lot and had been pretty set on the idea that being sad was a kid thing.  Maybe he was wrong after all and that was too much to imagine.

Rising from the dead.

For Linnea

We are looking for a place to sleep,
we are looking for a place to lay our bodies

We are standing in the rain waiting for a train,
we are so very late for the resurrection.

& I day dream you asleep on a ship
but you are right next to me

& my arms ache for you
& then the sun rise from our

bed and rubs the sleep from
its eyes & tells us to make love

again, and we do

and we are
no longer tired
& we are raised up

from the once dead &

now we are
both on the ship that I day dreamt
sailing back across the river Lethe,

coming home

as it was once written in a letter
you sent me; that finally

arrives.

Balthazar 21

xxi.

The moon is like a silverblueballoon that slowly rises into the sky carrying Balthazar with it like one of those string tied letters sent to the wind. Balthazar sits on his bed looking out the window, the same window he has been looking out ever since his father came home from work. The moonlight sneaks through the window startling the cat and then into his room. Mom? (he thinks) is that you? He knows it’s not but…somewhere inside his body, maybe in his young heart already made more of memory than muscle, she’s still here washing dishes, the steam from the sink fogging the window where she draws hearts with the yellow plastic gloved hand and in every heart she ever drew, in the middle of it, she always wrote the letter B.

B pushes his bed closer to the window, spreads the curtains wide and opens it. The moon is bright and fuller than full. The moon is now at every window of every house, and the moon has become so big it fills the whole sky, silvering all the open fields of the world— Balthazar, throws all the bedding to the floor and takes off his shirt. He lies there with the moon so big that the man on the moon gives him a bright kiss— while Balthazar outlines the letter B on the bare skin above his small glowing breast; over and over and over again.

The Dead Are Always Astonished

The dead are always astonished.

 

The Dead are always astonished

by the dying itself, how it comes

subtle like the scent of rain before

 

the first drops that fall unnoticed,

except for the small circles on pavement,

and surprised by the weight of it all,

 

a thing never consider in the morning

hours just before, and how it is lighter

than air; not what was expected at all

 

with an overwhelming ache to laugh.

How strange now the living are

to the Dead, with all their longing and

 

weight.  So the Dead avoid the living,

and gather in large open spaces with

all the other Dead and dance elaborate

 

dances and laugh or lounge in trees

taking time to read the books the wanted

to or write letters they should’ve written

 

long ago.  And the Dead are astonished

by everything around them and the Dead
are constantly in awe.  Maybe that’s why

 

the Dead never attend their own funerals,  

but look on, sending their love from a distance

as if afraid of catching something like a cold

 

or something far worse.

[My heart moves forward into the light]

for Linnea

My heart moves forward into the light
greets you in the rising and falling of hours
that trail behind us and stretch before us.

I try not to talk about the all things I want – they are
my prayers I say in the closet away from
everyone,
even you.

It’s that I am afraid
of what I want, I ‘ve just
come to understand

the weight of things
and the need to be patient

like the spring rain
that fills the face of the daffodil

till it bends down
slowly to earth

to return the kisses.

And now -

all my days without you
make love to all my days with you

and from their lovemaking
days without end are born in

your belly and take root
in my poet’s heart that

moves forward, forward
                                                       into the light.

A House of Wind

I built a house out of the wind.
It was hard to sleep because
of the howling, no one came
to visit, except a hundred
paper kites and a hundred laughing children yelling,

“Higher! – Higher! – Higher!

Unbelievably Blue.

My sighs are registered
by the old bureaucrats
that live in my apartment, &
then shoved into exhausted

file cabinets at the head office
while the most egregious are
shoved into diplomatic bags &
and flown East because of certain

protocols. Now my sighs are so far
from me, and they fall asleep without
their sigher, under the sound of so
many church bells, in a city with a faint

scent like dim light and lemons. Now
they live by themselves, entire lives;-
and their periodic heavy breathing,

disturbs their neighbors – reminding them
so much of their own tragedies akin to love,
that it makes the light on the wet streets
feel ankle deep and unbelievably blue

I do not know…

I’ve slept with you all these nights
entwined bone and blood and still
still I do not know your body,

and each time we touch, I discover,
its breath and its silences, its fault
lines and scars or where its bees

and honey hide. Again and again I
find your body each night, and if you
ask me to draw a map, I would need

to draw it with light against the night
where I know you best, and yet

I would fail, still, because I do not know
your body and I am patient while I discover
each stone and each shadow, each avenue

and the hidden playground of your heart
where angels play dominoes and perfect
their flying, and I do not know your body,

except only partially and what it shows me
beneath our touching.

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