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No One

ISSUE:  Spring 1980
There is no one at home tonight; no one can stay home.
The streets and the bars and the theatres
are crowded with lovers and would-be lovers, and you
are with them until I find you, my legs hurrying
up each street past all the other desires.
Sex is in the air, in the water, in piano keys, taxis,
and in long throats arching to swallow the cool liquid.
By the river men meet and go to dance
and push their tongues into each other’s mouths, and boats
scrape against the pier, a sound heavy with longing,
and the small waves slap-slap and try to come between.

A siren is screaming like a woman as I walk out to find you.
Teen-aged boys crowd the restaurant window
where a television star is eating dinner. They call for her
and chant and push against the glass; they wait hours
rubbing arms and hips; they sniff the air like dogs.
The bum on the corner caresses an alleycat with his left hand.
She arches and rubs her thigh across his face, and he smiles
and urges her to drink from his bottle. Dead men in the river
washed upstream in the embrace of weeds, and swimmers
who go out too far and return with larger eyes and mouths
swollen with salt. Lovers, lovers, no one alone.

Mouths are opening together; dancers are rubbing
against one another; that is why there is so much laughter.
Wind through the gutters, beggar-wind, moving the dust
for love, everything crying: Love! Love! as the street
catches fire and the sirens raise their voices
until even God, who murdered his wives to live alone,
unchallenged, howls in his celibate heaven. Bright fish
squirm in the arteries, trying to get back to the heart.
Upstream in us they make the pulse wild,
until they find their way, until the deep touch reaches.
I push deep into the crowd and through. I hurry

against the current of bodies, swallow laughter downwind—
Until I find you, when we open our mouths and push
our tongues down one another’s throats, when we open
our bodies and rise with the sirens and the laughter
and the howls of dogs. With them together,
water slapping the boats and you above me, opening me,
the deep touch and the clinging and the bright fish
swimming. Statues under the lights, stone carved
and beaten to resemble the living, stone moving
with the earth, stone that glows with impossible desire
while the full moon submits and is slowly eaten alive.


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