Desire (a Trilogy)

        "In the end one loves one's desire and not what is desired."
                    -- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil 175

I. Desire/Poem

I write this poem
as though it were your body
surface tracings       formed
of longings dotted and crossed
circling       grooves gliding
upon parchment stretched so lively
so warm       so enraged

I think of you
and this poem writes itself
across paths leading into the cold air
stringing together
galaxies apart       distant pulses

I long for you
and you are not there
in this dark space springs forth
      my desire
our desire       if I may put a name
to what is not yet there
in my tongue
there are no names for us
in my tongue that inscribes the world into being

      what is your name
      where do you come from

To want you
to bridge these half-truths
into a web of filigree fantasies
I must create you first--

      do you see your face
      flow from my pen into the air
      do you disrobe from my thoughts
      and come forth into my arms

In loving you
I love that which I distill
from myself       desiring only
that which becomes you inside of me
staining       ink-blush upon my cheek
like two poems rubbing against one another
they smudge into chaos       into laughter

1 October 1993

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II. Desire in Still/Life

without thought, effortless
as a mantra turning
      --Olga Broumas

these restless movements stir into
a pose, a gaze
of white following black, marring
the lucidity of the page

I've captured my desire for you on
paper             where else would I
                  let it go?

the violence of these thoughts
tearing at your tender body
(was it tender?   was it
spirit incarnate in flesh?)
is nothing compared to the violence
of desire

          a heap of pears
reclining in a dirty-brown bowl

I hold my breath as a
marble in my mouth, not daring
to break the beauty
of this moment.

There were lucid thoughts
that once traced a song of love against
your skin--

                I've made this book of poems
stand in for your body,
your wonderful body
(was is wonderful? was it
a wonder of fullness inside me?)

Now I breathe in fear
of breaking the stillness of your pose:
      I breathe the O of the universe,
      the AH a sigh of release,
      the M kissing against the stagnant air.

When you come to life,
you will find my breath still floating
in the air, lucid
and effortless, halfway though
the crying of your name into infinity...

22 October 1993

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III. Desire Grows Old

It has settled into a dull thump.
This poem grows old.
This time grows old.

I want you but I can see
that it does not end there
with wanting you
and wanting to see you
and ending all this want and need--

Time is vengeful,
and will not allow this to pass.
This poem cannot forget.
This poem cannot remember

what made it come into being
before this slow beating began.

12 October 1993

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1 October 1993 -- 22 October 1993
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Sylvia Chong (