Do not fall in love with a poet
they are no more honest than a stockbroker.
(Do you have a stockbroker? If you do,
they are with you because you have one.)
If you think that they are more sensitive because they care about language
pay attention to how they use language.
Are you included? Are you the "you"?
Or are you a suggestion?
Are you partially included as a suggestion?
Are you partially excluded because you are a concept
encased in some jewel-like nouns, almost throw-away,
and yet somehow a perfect resemblance?
How does narcissism
work for the reader who is also the object of desire?
Do they become the tour-de-force?
What about vague nouns where you can peer in
at the monstrosity as if it were buoyant and not a futile metaphor
(only because you are generous with your imagination).
Consider that poem's vagueness doesn't account for your complexity
and the epithets don't suffice, you are not "one who is a horse-drawn carriage"
nor are you a "sparrow with hatchet."
Perhaps they quote Mallarme when taking you to bed,
carefully confusing you with their sense of charm and faux-chaste sense.
All this before voracious body-pressing.
The lovemaking is confusing until, you remember, they said something:
thus spake the dreamboat, your poet, alarmingly announces during climax:
I spend my fires with the slender rank of prelate
and then fierce withdrawal with a rush of perseverance to flee.
You are mistaken if the language furthers your sense of devotion.
You are a fallen person now.
They care more about their language than for you (you, the real person you).
Line after line, a private, unmediated act done to you with a confusing abandon,
its flailing in its substance however deceptive this might be.
It will point out your own directionlessness,
you will be harmed.
You cannot mediate it with caress.
Do you think because they understand what meaning looks like,
they have more meaning than others?
They are the protectors of a sense of feeling, mere protectors— earnest?
No. They are protectors of the flawed, filling zones of bereft.
The aftermath of pleasure. A contested zone for all.
What about the lawyer who loves the law?
Aren't they the same, a poet with a larger book—
the way they protect and subject language
to a sense-making?
A kind of cognitive patternization.
Ultimately, both undertake the hijack of language,
they won't love you the way
you are; it's in this inability to love—
unless you embody the poem—
you embody the law and its turn of phrase.
Unless you see the poet clearly: loving utterance,
an unadulterated utterance—seized and insular.
You must entice with otherness.
You must catch the poem as a muse does.
You must muse and muse and muse.
All the thralldom of poetic encounters that stand in for sexual ones,
all the ways we terrorize with sense-making,
allowing it to stand in for intimacy.
For it to stand in and suggest that all other kinds of feelings
and declarations must yield to it.
It will move you if you ask for permission
to exist within its confines,
and you move the poet toward you and you hold the poet's head,
wrapping your arms around them
strapped in your wordless hold, but soon words do come
and in the trailing off of speech, you will be permanently lost.
This poem reminds me of e.e. cummings' poem, since feeling is first:
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you
If you, whoever you are, are with a lover, who in the height of passion, has the audacious self-absorption to say, "I spend my fires with the slender rank of prelate", rather than look into your eyes right before they make that face that looks like they're about to go into the ugly cry, well, just excuse yourself as politely as you can, and get out of there, where ever there is. I am not kidding.