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 will record it all

in shades of red


The Invention of Joy

What day was it
that God created
bird song?

And on that day did
the throats of the first
birds who sang, bleed

just a little bit?

What day was it
that God created
bird song?

And on that day did
the throats of the first
birds who sang, bleed

just a little bit?
Was it on that same day
that joy was invented?

Or that flight became
the home of all those who sing?
Or did the first birds tremble

anxious because of what came
out from their small bodies
did they fear stopping

as if the world would
cease turning?
Or did they fly

higher and higher
singing louder and louder
till they fell back to earth

And was it on that day
that the first falling stars
came tumbling out

of the first evening sky
for all of us
to make

wishes upon?

the gentle bees are giving rides to professors

Think of incredibly

small golden boats made of pollen with sails of dreams that navigate

the eyes of young women, giving them visions of Paris.

So sing out loud like the sunrise, sing and roll down grassy hills

let your rolling fell tyrants from their lofty heights. Think of incredibly

small golden boats made of pollen with sails of dreams that navigate

the eyes of young women, giving them visions of Paris. Their parasols

are really giant flowers and the gentle bees are giving rides to professors

who are laughing at the ideas expressed in the movement of poppy fields filled with

the orange fire of the first night I spent with you-that night where everything

was one and you were one and I were one and there was no such thing as this or that

or them and – everything was us. That was the time when a happy motorcar stops

in the middle of an intersection to just feel the warmth of the road beneath it. This

happens more times than we know. So why do we worry about this world?

Think of this; somewhere on an overcrowded street, there is an old woman who

has made friends with the rats in her walls. She calls them children

and they call her mother. They are very happy family. This is not a flight of fancy.

The rats have dances and the old woman plays her accordion. It is a grand

affair. And the time spent together is a warm blanket

of laughter that keeps the winter in exile. STOP!

The subway is a long story that repeats

itself over and over and some rider listen with a hundred ears while others

sleep through the night waiting for the curtain to rise,

not seeing the horses of morning running through the streets. They sleep;

for the dreaming is more real than the waking. Is this true for you?

I have no idea, all my ideas went down in books that would not float that

slowly tumble towards foreign shores where one day a little boy will find

them and by finding them build airships that will take him to see the moon

rising over pyramids graffittied with love poems written by old

Rabbis who now understand the futility of some memories.

Can you hear the two Japanese gardeners in the Garden

of Gethsemane that cheer and clap

at the empty tomb. I too am waiting for the applause that

accompanies spring time and your lingering laughter

Your gaze brought me…

to your mouth
where you leave me;
hovering, a stage
bird hung from a frayed
string. It was in those days
when we wrote our
anxieties on the outline
of each other’s lips
that made our kisses bitter.
When we wrote so many
letters home asking
unanswerable questions,
of those we had abandoned.
Now in this dark room
we trace the line of each
other’s ribs gently, a subtle

gesture, we both understand.


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 the 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.

Looking for M: A Video Poem by Chris Leibow

An updated version of the last. Enjoy

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What is Poetry Now Review of Looking for M.

Chris Leibow’s voice may have more atmosphere than the music here, makes me feel like I should be sitting sipping absinthe in the late afternoon, tucked inside a shadow, somewhere in the south of France.