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Something Sensible About Desire


ISSUE:  Autumn 1990

If we agree that the truth is never
  only what we want to believe,
the urgent arguments of desire

still have the body’s weight behind them,
 the weight of the bully who tells you
what to say and then makes sure you mean it.

So you are on your knees in the dirt
 and listening hard—Say it!
Say it again
.

Late at night, after dinner, and another
 bottle of wine, all sides of the matter
blur into significance, and the opposite

of what you meant is what you meant.
 ”But that’s what I was saying,”
everyone is saying,

and no one wants to go to bed.
 Too late now for the singular, the personal
example; but I know what I wanted to believe,

what you were saying—something sensible
 about desire, and how we hurt people,
and care about that, and do it anyway,

and some of us choose what we feel
 we can’t afford to turn away from,
and therefore think about death,

which is the last argument:
 how it stands beyond
all that is merely true, how it only listens.

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