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"What Is This Bittersweet?"

What Is This Bittersweet?

If you live only on the bitter,
your eyes will be hard.
No one will want you.
A corpse laid out alive,
a hammer,
a mirror,
painted black.
You will want no one,
only strike out with impotence.

If you live only by the sweet,
the bitter will not exactly touch you.
It will annihilate you early on.
They will find you,
a smiling vegetable
in a nursing home,
or, worse, on a screened-in porch,
where you are unable to grow anything
good dirty orange,
like a carrot.

Even taken together, bitter and sweet don't help you.
You are simply aware of good moments,
small but numbering in the thousands,
along with the knowledge that a single misstep
or even the most right and best step
can take you down
at any moment.

The thread you use is spun sugar.
You build your webs, tasting your own sweetness,
licking the icing of all your loves that flow from you
with such ease, such grace.

Never forget, though:  you will be adeptly rolled up
in your own superb, dewy strands,
stored away,
to be eaten by your own desires,
or by a God whose perfect lips you've never seen
or by spiders
that have absolutely nothing to do with you,
that live in jungles,
in whose trees you've never climbed.

Some spiders may arrive by mangos
or in the cage of an exotic animal.
On the bus, there is a man in a normal gray coat.
He has a gun in the pocket.
You are the one he shoots in the eye.
Until then, beige cream
to cut the edge off your over-brewed coffee.
A kiss to soften the earth
where you bury again and again
what you most love.
A single word of affection
on a day of horrors,
a slice of orange on a night of loss,
drops of brandy ministered to tea.

For a moment, you willl see a way out.
A hole in a piece of paper becomes a tunnel.
Dance on the rails like a drunken hobo
before the train overtakes you.
Dance with fear
or dance without it.
No matter.
Sparks fly from your heels.
I adore your kerchief,
filled with a piece of good bread,
damp matches,
underwear washed in a stream.
I love you.
You are more courageous than a soldier,
a statesman,
or a man selling hot dogs.
Learn to love the warmth of your lover's body.
Lie down, walk, or run.
It will kill you in your soul.
Learn to love pain.
Learn not to die from it,
until the very
last
moment.