Love is not a profession
genteel or otherwise
sex is not dentistry
the slick filling of aches and cavities
you are not my doctor
you are not my cure,
nobody has that
power, you are merely a fellow/traveler.
Give up this medical concern,
permit yourself anger
and permit me mine
which needs neither
your approval nor your surprise
which does not need to be made legal
which is not against a disease
but against you,
which does not need to be understood
or washed or cauterized,
which need instead
to be said and said.
Permit me the present tense.
I am not a saint or a cripple,
I am not a wound; now I will see
whether I am a coward.
I dispose of my good manners,
you don’t have to kiss my wrists.
This is a journey, not a war,
there is no outcome,
I renounce predictions
and asprins, I resign the future
as I would resign an expired passport:
picture and signature are gone
along with holidays and safe returns.
We’re stuck here
on this side of the border
in this country of thumbed streets and stale buildings
where there is nothing spectacular
to see and the weather is ordinary
where love occurs in its pure form only
ont hé cheaper of the souvenirs
where we must walk slowly,
where we may not get anywhere
or anything, where we keep going,
fighting our ways, our way
not out but through.
from Selected Poems 1965-1975