A Quartet - Poem by Lawrence Beck
I write for you, not them, this time,
To tell you what you long have known.
I live each day to see your face, to hear
Your voice and have you close. There
Is no other word which weaves
Together desperate need and fierce
Desire seamlessly as this one: love.
That's what I know. I am not certain
How you feel. It seems you think
You shouldn't say. You may be right.
It doesn't matter. You have seen me be
Absurd, and smiled, and said that
We're okay, and told me daily what's
Gone wrong. You crushed me when
You'd said you'd go until you promised
You'll be back. I'll wait for you. You
Know I will, and love you. That's what
I must do. The months will pass, and
When I worry, I will have to tell myself
That, though you've never said you
Love me, and you may not, you are
Coming back because you have
To have me close.
She lives on Venus; My Home is on Mars
We have built a special place. It's secret.
No one is to see, and, in it, in some form,
We love. There's nowhere else where we
Can be. She's young and living with her
Parents. She has friends her age, and
She and they inhabit territory that is
Alien to me. I can't know what they
Like to do. I do not understand their
Dreams, and, if she chose to bring
Me to them, they would see an aged
Man, who's strange and hesitant to
Speak, and they would see a flaw
In her. Her parents would want me
To go, and, in my world, my wife
And my children, most beyond her
Age, would, likewise, find her presence
Wrong. She doesn't share my arid
Pleasures, business news and books
Of verse. She's but a child, they would
Say, so we must have this tiny patch
Of interplanetary space to grasp each
Other, just for minutes, far from where
We spend our days. Each time we
Part, it hurts like hell, but she and I
Can't share our worlds. We must
Slip into this place to be allowed
I know that they're manipulations,
These too-slick and sappy country
Songs describing broken hearts.
They all were written in the daylight,
All by mercenaries, who weren't
Sad. They simply wanted money.
Sung by airbrushed millionaires,
And marketed by soulless men
And women out of business schools,
They're products, far away from art,
Yet, here, now that it's gotten late,
Inside this dumpy bar out on the
Edge of town, beside the highway,
After bourbons, by myself, two
Hours' drive away from her,
I hang my head and start to cry.
They've sung my broken heart.
Okay for a White Guy
The minor chords which weave throughout
The gospel-choir sound appeal to me.
It's almost midnight. Everyone across the
Line, it's Troost, if you're in Kansas City,
Sleeps, but, over here, outside the Section
Eights, the party's on, and, for those old
As I am, these are what will raise us from
Our chairs: the melancholy sounds of
Soul, the lovers begging to be loved,
Once chained, but never wholly free.
“You find a job? , ” the woman asks.
“Oh, baby, don't you want to dance? ”
“You need the Lord, not apple wine.”
“I need to know you'll be behind me,
Need to not stare into faces, filled with
Hatred, cursing me.” I think it's time
For me to leave, the tourist, white, and
Free to go. My friends will smile and
Say goodbye sincerely, but we all will
Know I only hear what they live:
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