How Spring Comes

    Toys and rose               The zoo body zigzags
I think fish too
                                        but I'm a polite
social being, I'm a Ladle Lady or purple
and blue I write green letters and gold
editorials for the Krystal Oxygen Company
I have one hip as far as I can see, that
I see as I write say
                                         white tee-shirts
                                            upsidedown
                                         turn em around
                                           & put them on
                                             your muscles
                                                my angels

                      or

                                   a semi-colon
                                      is blue window
                                           to me
is that a haiku? I fly over San Diego in some one or
another real despair and ask you to comfort me. You
more or less do, you aren't even here
            my best me my worldly me
            my taste of spring my continuance my
            comfort will you comfort me?
I offer you my heart over Tucson
                                                I can't use it
               take it to comfort me
                                                             free
                  me be it take it take it to
                  be it
which apparently you don't or take you help provide
me it I think, that
happens among true people, that poem I was writing
no good poem
                                    but Moment framed the Pleiades
The garnets ring more beautiful the longer you
                                             are waiting for me in them,
                                             where Deity makes me friendly there.

But who put on all the tee-shirts in Hunter's
Point? Well we're all good boys my son said so.
A semi-colon is a semi-precious garnet cluster
telegram; what we love are such depths between all
the messages. Pass the salt; Ladies of the Tang,
bubble of night; this book about Harry Truman is wonderful.

I see the Gulf Moon Rising every night. I'm familiar
with the zonked starfish. I've the sheen on under
the fire-escape railing all streetlight-lit. The
hollow suddenly appeared to enlarge and fill with a
bright light. Wild with the taste of wine it does not
remember the despair of an hour ago, which was true
that is of a true woman. She was somehow hating her
position on the round earth in the dusky sky on a
harsh Sunday. On the ground forgotten flowerlike
firmaments. She addressed in uneloquent hatred
SMUG LIFE
                          the one who soothes one's foolishness the
Great Face Construct who loves you for your kinks child
anyway, the Guru God:

              Oh I will come back a knockout tomorrow
                      Useless to you!
                                        You're not it you smug face
               I'm not doing your yoga not wearing
               Your moondrops using your cream
               Rinse letting you fuck me Exquisite
               Like I was one of the Ones With Brains Too!
               Intelligence in panties with peekaboo
                                                                    holes—

               No I'm coming back raw
               I'm getting drenched in the rain
               It's rain and it's wet I'm soaked I'm
               Chilled and I'm coughing the air's raw
               To my throat, which is raw from
               Coughing, coughing so strong
               Coughing and laughing
                         So strong from killing you!

Etc.
         
                  She didn't kill nothing.
                                                            & I don't get to share
no secrets with the stars. I make chow. I contemplate
semi-colons. I despair as a mother. I scream at that
kid I'm gonna crack open your big walnut if you don't
go to sleep. Theories of grace, that it implies no
surprise no shock. Ukrainians sudden on Sunday speaking
Ukrainian, the cross not Christian but Gracious
                            and when I want to cry or cough violently
it must diffuse back into my embassy; hard, that takes
hard. And if it weren't for you . . . not you smug life
face, but real you. Please play cribbage.
                                 Pass the salt.
                                 Think of a garnet-black cabbage, a
Ukrainian is selling it on 7th Street in honor of our
marriage. A Spanish fan opens in my abdomen
                           I have Spanish dancers in my stomach

         they're my arching striving in dance where it's black
red flowers darken to be huge pleasuring the
                severe, tried Angel who meets transition,
           transport, as abruptly as necessary
                                                  for everyone's are apt

Says the Unassuming Graceful
Whose down-hip-ness
Is that window
The dancers' sensuous flaw
That admits Spring,
Contingent upon our personality
Spring is for the worldly
                                                       just like the HaHa Room
                       Just like dearest rockbottom
                                                                  suddenly gone buoyant

                               
                                 To be black geese to be
                                 strenuous dancers
                                 is not to dignify a passion but to
                                 grip it.

                                        Not saints but always pupils
pupils dilated fully black in full achievement of
gut-feeling. Joy.
 
Alice Notley, "How Spring Comes " from Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems 1970-2005. Copyright © 2006 by Alice Notley.  Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Selected Poems of Alice Notley (Talisman House, Publishers, 1993)
More Poems by Alice Notley