Wear Me Passionate

The Poems of Christopher Leibow

Lovers in a Red Sky

Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love. Marc Chagall.

for Linnea

And when they
discover what we

have done. what will
they think of us?

Will they know how
much you love me? How

your hand thrust itself
into this tangle-

d, heaped up heart of my mine,
and pulled out a wreck of gulls

and set them free? Or how you blew
out each street lamp for me, like

the hundred flickering candles
that have kept me,

awake for years, & just so I
could sleep through one bright

night in the safe darkness
of your heart. What will they

know about us? The moon
and her, procession of attendant

stars? Will they know how-
how much I love you, and

will the moon ask for her
stars back, the one’s I stole

and wove into your hair just
last night, while you dreamt

of chasing the same stars back
to earth, those falling stars, like

the bright flash of a wish of that
“once upon a time” little girl you

used to be, dreaming of a love
of your own? Ahh we shouldn’t

worry love, more than not, they
will give no heed… But what if,

O love, what if our loving makes
us lighter than air, and in the red

setting sky, we simply start to float
above it all, above all the men

in their fine hats and all the women
in their complicated dresses twirling

their parasols over their shoulders , their
serious eyes fixed to the ground as if

it were lines from a sentencing, and
then over freshly planted fields, over

hamlets. And of those who notice, some
will call it madness, others will look

down, embarrassed and shuffle their feet in the dust,
but can you see over there, that young

man on the roof with his sketch pad,
that one reading the verses
of changing light

he
he will record it all

in shades of red

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!

Right Here.

for Linnea

I have wandered in and out of burning cities with crumbling streets named after you.  Everywhere I went you were not. I looked for you in the tattered books of poets, among the writers of operas and among the caravans of the Gypsies.   I frequented clairvoyants and fortune tellers.  They claimed to speak in your name. I did the rituals they told me would bring you to me.  But there you were not. I went to the taverns drank till drunk and smoked opium in dens of dreaming, I went to whorehouses and looked for you in between other women’s legs But you were not there. So I left the city of men and went to the mountains and the deserts, I swam in the waters of the world, everywhere I went you were not. Weary and alone, I built a house in a great tree and sat silent for a long time.  I cried out to the falling stars, “Where is my beloved? I am weary without her!  And at that very moment, from the base of the tree, a clear voice, the voice I had been waiting for during an endless  march of moons, your sweet voice answering my plea, calm as a sunset and bright as a bell,

“Right here my poet”

[Say that I am welcomed, that I have gone mad]

After Maria Elena Cruz Varela, for Linnea

Say that I am welcomed, that I have gone mad
that sadness is a country finally conquered

by the fragrance of flowers, that the dawn runs
in circles in my heart like a tiger & will leap

from my hands to grasp her waist one more time. Say
that the history I ransom, with salt & time, is mine

& mine alone. That it is good to be spent, and to blaze
like a match & say to her in my bed, that my name is

the only name that matters, that the sea will find her
wandering in desert, that the falling stars she gathers

will be a gift for her daughter’s hair & tell her that
my heart was born in her gaze, that it is good to set

the caged birds’ free. Say that we have bound our wounds
with light, that we are good, that we are free, that we have paid

our debts & that our entwined bodies have become luminous.

Linnea as a Proposition

for Linnea

An astonishing thing
Brought by a exuberant

moon.

Dressed in sliver like stones
Just under the water’s

Face -

It was tremendous
And it was ease;
Our lips wet

With tea.

Caught

 

I am caught deep
in the lie of her
in the naked and

the vulnerable
in the lengthening
out of her — caught

in the tangle and
thicket caught by
the full moon

between
the shadow
and shade

under deliberate
constellations — or
like the comet

spending eternities
in the dark till caught
by light cast —rushing

giddy toward the sun
its tail casting of silver
like the lover when

his prodigal bride
returns — or like the stag
running towards his mate

horns jammed between
two Birch till next spring; —
leaps out, full of green and light

from wide white circles
of two now astonished eyes.

Building a House on the Wind

Loving her was like trying
to build a house on the wind
with its constantly shifting currents.

This is by no means a judgment
on the properties of air, just
on the wisdom of building a house there.

I thought at first, maybe I could build
a flying machine instead, one that would rise
with the gusts,  surrender to the wind

I could have floated there forever just
to be with her, the loving was, let’s say;
astonishing.

But the grounded angel that I am,
who pawned his wings
so long ago,

and gave up the clouds
and stars to the gods

has already chose earth
over heaven and now aches -
& it is the ache of root

and wood and green that cries out from
the center of me, it’s the flowering
tree in me that hungers for dirt

and sun and rain and rock, that hungers
for a tree home that sings, sings
with bird song and leaf-song, where

the rainbow starts and no one cares
what’s at the other end.

Loving her was like trying
to build a house ion the wind
the currents constatnly changing.

And now I am where I belong

asleep among the braches
my roots holding the earth & kissing
good night to the dead,

asleep under my blanket of moonlight
wind kissed and dreaming

dreaming of flying.

image

[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.

Funny How (rough draft).

the night plays tricks on the heart
and shadows cast monsters against bedroom

walls, and even when you are old, sometimes
you pull the covers over your head and think, like

when we were children, “If I stay perfectly still
I will be safe.”
O if only we listened to the wise

child inside, but instead we go tilting at windmills,
and raging against the night, that trickster, like

the crow or moon that says one thing but means another.

and finally sleep comes, but not soon enough,
 not until we have said that which flies furiously from our lips,

and like the revealed side of a flipped coin,
determining our fate.

I Love You Most On Mondays

for Linnea

How I love you,
love you and your 47 shades,
like all the different words for love.

How I love you tangled in the lengthening day,
or raging with life into the void or with your head
hidden under the covers because there is too much night to bear.

I love you and how with heart in hand you dance in circles
just to make the moon laugh, or to make me smile.
And I love you most on Mondays,

but we both know that’s not true
because I love you more on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
then I ever could on a Monday and what about Thursday

or Friday? And no one can even comprehend how much I love you
on the weekend, where I love you in the tangle of our sheets,
sleeping away the day like we were the richest lovers in the world

with a million days to spend doing nothing but love.
Let’s just say for now that I love
mostly in the quiet space between breaths, that space

where I see you as you and you see me as me and where we start
to spin in circles; mad like dervishes, one hand to heaven and the other
pointing to the earth; our bodies bringing heaven and earth

together.
Or let’s just say that I love you

simply
without effort

in the quiet
of our sleeping

under a full laughing
moon.

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