My room is pouring me out through the window into the street as if
My bed is slanting down as if
It wants me to tumble along with London rain.
London makes you write with your eyes closed.
All these bards have turned into their insides
Tried to find something some light in this gray.
You land on me like a tree over a path creates a secret
An accidental cave where I can
Close my umbrella. You have nowhere better to be
Walk slowly and let the rain coat your shirt
Walk slower as if this is all on purpose. Dress
As if this is all on purpose. Remember how
Strangely magnificent it is to see a horse in this city.
Mythical giant with memories of
A historical outside. Where do you think
It is what man has made. Cough
settled in and over perfect
cardboard skyscrapers waiting
to domino— empty, light, soundless, lost
behind haze that seeps into
a mind a tongue into scattered
vocabulary and nothing to
see in dizzying dark morning
brightness. Forced myopia,
this country moves in fog—
a building revealing itself,
hiding itself, car, motorcycle,
person in field and street corner,
all alone in this cloud. It is
I know the robed wide woman dark on neighbor balcony –
the one who looks up at nothing then down at the pub –
laughs when the handrail is too fast for the escalator
when she finds herself, after a flight, slightly leaning.
Some things are made to take heat, this tea pot for example
Made not to warp or melt but to hold water over fire.
Does she hate, I wonder, to whistle? Or worse-
Will she whistle herself quiet?
grass and tree all green like it should be
all propped up on a hill in Watership Down
where cottages nest among and under
familiar words that build places from paintings
and maps, all full of Boston suburbs and streets,
this untouched English countryside so gently pillaged.
And so it is here like it should be where
a red house looks cold and wise and dark and right
in trees and green, so the still and the violent Sport
of Kings just there. Why wouldn’t we circle the match
lead in hand, why wouldn’t we be walking?
but for his damn barking startling all the
pretty people his barking barking. You’re afraid
as dark birds alight they might
carry up these Watership Down trees may well buzz away
these wheat fields may well blow away would
But let it all blow away. Let the horses run like reindeer
into the gray. Carry away rosy Harry, go on. Let this clean
marquee shutter and burst into watercress that champagne into
its rightful gully let it all go spinning.
He is a good dog. He is a kind animal, stupid.
I do not want your Watership Down
if I must wrestle this animal quiet. If you must strike-
A noise like that should be a fox’s bite back or holly fingers digging.
It is not his wet nose, soft, seeking, slapped on your hard palm —
This bit of peace has settled here. You cannot hold it like a black
rubber grip like a brick.
You do not deserve your home. I will let it all go.
When it’s summertime at night in Hyde Park one walks alone.
So I, alone, walk under wind and dark and all things free
breathing warm air. There’s a smog around London now
Keeps it dusk. Makes day dirty, makes morning dusty
makes it all glow in Hyde Park like a swan apart from swans
on a lake not shining. A swan sharp like blue thrown white
out of grayscale lost in exposed dusky night. Like a swan
that moves through clouds that should hover
to look clean into your face. Not to wonder but to
demand explanation, gentle commander. In careful
appraisal, a swan that slides right into your quiet night
like a held hand that cannot hold you but holds you.
This is Not London, made beautiful by London, making
London beautiful. This looks right into grayed eyes
And speckles unexpected phosphorescence into haze.
I want to stay. I like your quiet questions.
I like your laughing eyes, still and drifting.
I like Hyde Park when I’m alone in the glow.
You say you don’t know why I am here. I agree. There are steps here I
wouldn’t try to convince you I stumbled on. Maybe I chose to mount this house.
But you won’t close that door behind this screen– here– my face is shrunken pretty and
you have eyelashes. Eyes like what rivers are when they leave beaches
to find the forests so shining even more blue when there are greeny evening shadows. So
many eyelashes. You talk funny. You sound like I’ll hate you when we’re old
taking black coffee. You’ll finish the oatmeal and read me things loudly and I’ll tell you
how much I hate your damn old voice. My voice and your voice will roll with the ocean
and the gulls and the heat and we’ll hate the whole thing over coffee.
That’s what you sound like. You with your body like a lighthouse. So corporeal I can just
feel waves tumbling up and over and all around you and never moving you. Good
lighthouses move when the ocean rises. Your hands are ugly, fat, uneven,
calloused like you’ve worked hard at something before. Like you’ve tried
to lift something heavy gently. I don’t know why I look through this screen,
this door, at the ocean in your face. You have shown me
nothing of interest but
won’t you leave me there on the bottom step to bring when you go up?
It’s true that the only real difference between living in the city and living in the country is whom one shares air with. Morning coffee is the same—albeit varying in its bitter—but the change is what clattering, tinkering, tittering, or mumbling the summer air pushes through the window. Air in the city has been breathed, or perhaps, sucked through cigarettes and emitted through exhaust pipes, pregnant with every decibel of hum and call. Country air has been breathed too, I supposed, but in that playful way that leaves and streams infuse, filter, fill, empty, and spin it. Even with skies and fields of lazy activity, country air sounds like one’s best conception of silence. This is why one is so surprised when one identifies (as everyone can) a taste of country air floating up from Brompton Street. It is that shocking coincidence of sweet air and birdsong that reminds busy people that summer can, too, land on London.