BOTH SIDES NOW
Sweetheart, I know that you love me...
I mean, I know you truly appreciate the poetry.
I have been composing this ditty
For well-nigh a week now, and, as I had
Experienced so often before, I am
Having difficulty saying what I want to say.
But I must repeat again that what I write
Follows the credo, the explicit attempt,
The power behind German historiography,
-- How's that for a mouthful? --
I want these lines to frame the claim
That it is how it actually had happened.
That is the phrase that now comes to mind.
But how do I write a love poem to you,
Especially since much of this content is old,
Comprising events whose date marks a time,
Before I had even heard your name,
And from geography you could not have known,
A land upon which you could never have walked?
May I continue to affirm that I had had composed
These lines for you -- solely with you in mind?
How can I say I wrote things for you
Still I must have created this verse for you.
For the matter had left me no choice.
I did what I am supposed to do.
Call it a form destiny manifest.
Earlier today I found few words. They were
Penned on a lined yellow sheet, pulled from
The perforation of a legal pad. Upon the paper
I wrote, 'I sit at the desk night after night,
And sometimes it's even day and night.
I write. It may not be about that much.
Often the topics are small and
Want the propriety and moment
Critics call central to the poet's chore.
But I sit at the desk night after night
And sometimes it's even day and night.
Now the many years have passed.
I have no choice in the matter. I write.'
And, as I had already told you,
When I had telephoned to tell you
I had packed up your mail, the stuff I
Received here at your Brooklyn address,
And that it was on its way to Coral Gables,
I do not know if you remember,
You asked me how I was doing,
And in light of active compulsion,
So lonely, and so in love with you,
Actually my personality probably has
I multiply my schedule,
not enough hours in the day,
I isolate terribly,
some times I talk to no one for the week,
And when friends telephone; it's not what
I really want! It's not what I want them to do!
I rush them off! Honestly! No time for idle talk,
no time for chatter exchange.
No choice! I must return to my desk.
Incidentally, I dread having to meet
Sorry! You must know, I want only to
But I do have that other side,
And that, too, may reflect the reciprocity
The sentiments we share, the reason
I qualify for your companionship, and
How it is that I do not fear the confidences
I so comfortably share with you.
So I do believe I can say it right.
Now let us see if I can say it right!
I'll tell you about some memories.
I'll start with Central Avenue, Phoenix,
I'll say Danny's store packed with Native
American silver, the turquoise and coral --
Bracelets, necklaces, and rings -- properly
Displayed on racks and in trays within glass
Enclosed showcases, on the clear shelves,
On velvet pads, themselves many colored,
And I remember my son, maybe at ten,
But no more than twelve-years of age,
Alexander, playing behind the counters,
Next to the shotguns, propped up diagonally,
At the ready in the event of robbery, and
On the floor open boxes of twelve-gauge
Shells should there be need for
I recall those summer Sundays, flying in
From Dallas-Fort Worth, landing at
The ground crew rolling up the
I would run full tilt down the stairs,
Fahrenheit, ninety-five degrees, and still
A rental car reservation awaited me, and I was
Off to the parking lot at the Dog Track,
To the swap meet that was unfolding, and I
Would seek out the cowboy called Roadrunner,
Who always seemed to have a ton of loot,
A big haul of different goods every Sunday.
And I remember, although it all seems
That very special meeting when traders
Lined up, raised hands, and one after the other,
Volunteered to say that jewelry great here and
Proclaimed that whosoever was welcomed into
Who greets the Navajo, both the man and wife,
Who knows the children, running across the
Gravel lot, left and right, then unto the asphalt
Sidewalk, refreshing themselves from
Which stood just to the right before the
On those persons, I recollect the traders
I remember one Sunday afternoon.
I felt good magic at work when a child
Ran up behind me,
and quickly touched the back of my hand.
Later I went up to South Mountain to the home
Of a Mexican. It was painted blue. I bought
More jewelry and then headed out to Bell Road,
To the outskirts of the city. At one point I
Passed the shopping mall where I had made
I thought about it being the salesman's lot
To sit around waiting for a turn with buyers.
And to the radio which was turned on to the
That night I buck danced on the concrete patio
That surrounded the big swimming pool.
Although it was dusk,
and the temperature had fallen back,
It still was over ninety, and I sat back on the
Lounge chairs and watched Alexander, over
Practice perfect dives off the deep-end
And, darling, even then, it was so long ago,
It was you. It was you
I had been waiting for in my life.
The desert air brought me dream of you.
And when I awaited personnel behind the drawn
curtains of the air port security booth,
My carry-on bag had to be checked,
Because the x ray screen showed
concentrated bundle of metal,
I sat back and was wondering when
When you would walk in