On Drinking Alone by Moonlight

On Drinking Alone by Moonlight
by  Li Po (701 AD-762 AD)

Here are flowers and here is wine,
But where’s a friend with me to join
Hand in hand and heart to heart
In one full cup before we part?

Rather than to drink alone,
I’ll make bold to ask the moon
To condescend to lend her face
The hour and the scene to grace.

Lo, she answers, and she brings
My shadow on her silver wings;
That makes three, and we shall be.
I ween, a merry company

The modest moon declines the cup,
But shadow promptly takes it up,
And when I dance my shadow fleet
Keeps measure with my flying feet.

But though the moon declines to tipple
She dances in yon shining ripple,
And when I sing, my festive song,
The echoes of the moon prolong.

Say, when shall we next meet together?
Surely not in cloudy weather,
For you my boon companions dear
Come only when the sky is clear.”

Julia Watson

Contemplating Hell

Contemplating Hell, as I once heard it,
My brother Shelley found it to be a place
Much like the city of London. I,
Who do not live in London, but in Los Angeles,
Find, contemplating Hell, that it
Must be even more like Los Angeles.

Also in Hell,
I do not doubt it, there exist these opulent gardens
With flowers as large as trees, wilting, of course,
Very quickly, if they are not watered with very expensive water. And fruit markets
With great leaps of fruit, which nonetheless

Possess neither scent nor taste. And endless trains of autos,
Lighter than their own shadows, swifter than
Foolish thoughts, shimmering vehicles, in which
Rosy people, coming from nowhere, go nowhere.
And houses, designed for happiness, standing empty,
Even when inhabited.

Even the houses in Hell are not all ugly.
But concern about being thrown into the street
Consumes the inhabitants of the villas no less
Than the inhabitants of the barracks.

Black Boxes Spooning

Mid-thighs pressing the buttocks, and
Chin touching the shoulder–
The circuit closes
For two black boxes in repose.

Breaths superimposed
Heartbeats superimposed
Convolving into delight
In this signal, love’s signal.

By Melanie Allen

 

Because this is a nerdy poem, I will give a little explanation.

The black box concept comes up when studying circuits, and apparently software engineering as well. There are rules so that if you are building complex circuits, as long as you know the input and output of a “black box” you don’t have to know it exactly.

We are each like black boxes to each other, in that we only know in a small way the input and outputs, even of our loved ones.

However, in a moment of intimacy, I am saying that the circuit closes; like the black boxes of the engineer, it doesn’t matter the exactness of the inside, however a joy to explore, for the two components to work together as one, as part of a system.

Though these lovers’ breaths and heartbeats do not literally superimpose, where superimpose/convolution is a process of adding signals to one another so that the final signal represents both (to oversimplify a bit), I hope to capture through the metaphor of these biological functions the emotional and physiological resonance between two beings lying together.

At a Window

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!

But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.

by Carl Sandburg

 

Steadied

I leaned a bit to the right under the weight
My burden tilted as I prepared
To shift my weight for descent down the stairs
He reached out and touched my waist gently
I wanted to lean further, to fall, but stood upright
Steadied; I swear each finger touched separately before the upper palm
But it wasn’t time to press more closely.

by Melanie Allen