What is thought and felt, believed and dreamed,
reflected on, the plot worked out in constant
depth, what isn’t, for the time being, being written
is being worked on—how long will it be,
the one long poem? Tacitus’s Annals, its half-
Virgilian lines—Kafka’s name on a report,
Risk Classification and Accident Prevention
in Wartime—expansion of a tendentious language,
an ancient clarity overlaid. What is said
is, objectively, measured by visual and auditory
standards of the street; as of last Wednesday,
it’s said, two hundred six thousand,
six hundred three dead, estimated eighteen million
displaced. How will it end—it won’t. Vast open-air,
mud-soaked camps, toxic water—no one can say
cluster bombs aren’t real. What of my grandparents’
families in Lebanon, in Syria, what of my grandfather,
dead for all but four years of my life, yet
I think of him and talk to him in the present tense.
The beauty of—a scene seen in streetlight.
Rain stopped, she takes my arm, wind icy, gusting,
on Peck Slip, sky streaked velvet. The power of beauty
the proof accorded—so much of her beauty alive in me
to keep me going the time it takes to finish.
Nuance, I know nuance—in her eyes; having
been, will ever be, love in the play of the eyes.