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Edward Wright Haile

Lost Glasses

My glasses fell into the water
and spent a night taunted by seaweed
The fish used them and became enraged
tearing out each other’s bones
A snail went by and suddenly saw a star
The jellyfish made love from bifocal to bifocal
Minnows licked the fragrant temples
The mud made plans

In the daytime my barefeet returned
The waters went to milk
and my fingers, my fish without hearts
picked them up, rinsed them in the clear
wiped them of all nightly friendship
put them on and redissolved that mental clay
that had made me dream of them and burn

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zz 074 Jealousy has cut me

Jealousy has cut me with a fang.
I know without a doubt I am betrayed.
Alone I can’t say that I feel a pang,
but thoughts soft, dark, and murderous invade.

I know I can’t imprison loyalty,
and then expect your heart to love its keeper;
or heart expect to fall in love and be
in hate with everything that makes it cheaper.

But misery has rights and rage a sire.
Skirt justice and paternity and smile,
you tempt a holocaust of blood and fire
indifferent to excuses or denial.

Grief loves itself in rivers no amend.
And either love or lover is at end.

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zz 219 A man is just a man

A man is just a man, simply, compact,
one thing, and husband, brother, father, son
are roles or chores or duties needing done,
put on but never move him off that fact.

A woman, on the other hand, is not
one thing but two at least, and maybe three
from larva, pupa, through adult if she
completes the thing assigned her when begot.

It’s all so damned confusing to a lover.
A husband finds his mother in his bed.
Love makes a father go out of his head,
and hatred’s pity makes a brother hover.

If man must only of one thing consist,
let him be woman’s entomologist.

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zz 223 A speech before the Spartan assembly

Pursuit of happiness throws out of true
a form as lithe as pairing body/mind.
My “happiness” is for the syssitia few.
The other is as unbalanced as unkind.

Happiness? It causes ranks to waver.
Happiness makes hand crawl towards the theft.
Greed and desire, are they not the saviors
of happiness? They speak to the depraved.

And happiness based on romantic love
brings down the populace worse than a murrain.
Insidious passions make the purest grief
alive, dry up the womb and leave it barren.
Unless love is lovemaking and they wed
Lakonia, and let her grasses bed.

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zz 113 Fate is the backwash

Fate is the backwash or the headtide slop,
the rip of someone else’s harsh restriction.
Fate can no more bend than the will stop.
Fate unwelcome and unwilled is fiction.

Impossible as that the world is wrong,
or that creation circles in a doubt.
Our lovers, if they seem to be so strong
as to defy the elements without,

rather combine their wills to make new fate.
For instance, we’re aground and yet a redwood
can push apart (not even excavate)
a canyon in us where we thought we stood,

until our heads are pelted like two fools,
that lovers are begetting more than souls.

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zz 118 Open marriage

Open marriage, how soon it comes apart,
regardless of what anybody says.
They claim free lovers can preserve one heart.
But who could counterfeit love’s offices

with fakes when true in such abundance spreads?
They say these forms refresh a tenderness.
I doubt that that decision took two heads.
No, one of them will stay monogamous.

They miss the best of marriage: conversation
frank, flowing full of what importantly
befalls each day, endearing in relation,
but which in open house immodestly

descends to sound, as who cares to hear of
his tenderness’s latest push and shove?

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zz 093 My mentor does not often visit earth

My mentor does not often visit earth.
True beauty brought him. He said it is a blaze,
though not of fop or fashion. And that praise
will nourish it but cannot lend it worth.

And is she sad? “Yes, she is, and more
her light is solemn, not sorrowful or grim,
as if out o’er a wild and choppy brim
the steadfast gaze of motherhood offshore.”

“Some lovers are afraid, some sense disdain
from what all worship and are surprised to find.”
Is she forbidding? “Not seldom in her mind
they build a price that only slaves attain.”

But? “Otherwise her beauty may be joyous,
given, mated, none is victorious.”

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A World Without People

… a world of birds and ponds,
this world
of camphor-scented glades, a new one
in morning flames beyond each one
my soul comes and inquires within,

one with showers of light spotting the sea’s nameless floors,
nameless glades, full of chatter,
colored roots, great cats loping in retreat,
big-eyed dogs licking and shameless,

and never the solitaire hand of money-making,
the forcing plow before the money-shire,
the clink of scheming, the cuss of sweat,

but a world that washes, cools, christens with scent,
a world of life farmed with the seeds of death,
a world that refreshes the music I had thought was psalms …

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Is Anything Too Small For Science?

Is anything too small for science?
What is too small?

Must we discipline our understanding
from the stereotype of life:

Am is man...
Man is animal...
Animal is water... Water

(Birds fly out of that dream of
sea mirrors heaving in a fog)

... is stars too small for science;
which
if they ever burn at all
are still only the sput, the shards, and the seconds
in the manufactory
of lovers’ acts and merely lovers’ dreams.

[...] Read more

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Going By Car

I never travel without an exploration
But going by car
is to examine the fine landscape
only though gloves or spyglass

It is to be eager at the passages of a great book
whose leaves are barely glimpsed
before turned by a mechanical arm

I must fight the touring disease
that the next bend has more than this one
Hurtling does not cure hurrying
I slow or pull off and step out
like a fat man reaching for wildflowers
his rising belly reaches first
like on a desperate liberty
pierced by a mother’s shriek
The manly, strange, motionless, exhausting earth
whelming all sides
fades, smiles, recedes

[...] Read more

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