For the July poem of the month I posted a long poem, and Rosie correctly pointed out that "less is more"; the poem seemed both repetitive and wandering. Inspired by her critique and by an upcoming contest asking for poems of 40 lines or fewer (and assisted most ably by my long-suffering roommate), I've revised it. Voila:
THE MYTH OF MEMORY
I finally learned to dive,
and found joy hovered there:
a sphere of longing sublimed with the lake.
Below me, an indeterminate color hung
like shadows cast on grass;
above, desire quivering in a sunlit circle.
Well-mouth, cave-mouth, it shone:
compelling, fixing my imagination
on its unknown and unlabeled hues.
That strange, inviting light held me;
I crystallized, became the prism,
casting scattered shafts
from each toe and finger, every hair.
Is it that light I long for in my dreams?
In an underwater limbo
suspense and longing intermingled.
Delicious, like a taste;
refreshing, as if I drank and it were pure;
wet and pulsing like the act of love.
That unity in isolation seemed
the archetype of other, severed, pleasures:
I swam submerged and drowning in desire.
What did I want? Not that muddy lake,
that real dive split in fragments by my five
unpracticed senses, spluttering in fact.
Not to catch the fascinating disc of sunlight
on the surface. Not to stay and drown;
no, not to stay and contemplate.
Fish do not live suspended in a state
of constant wonder—or perhaps they do.
Maybe that explains the lack of eyelids,
always awake, always in sudden shock.
Everything that happens goes too fast.
I never felt desire while I dove.
And yet, I read my recollections
as if feelings will be real,
as if every ecstasy will be itself
and every moment, lingering.
I live like longing will be unified and re-embodied
in the consummation and consecration of desire.