Gravity and Center

I’m sorry I cannot say I love you when you say

you love me. The words, like moist fingers,

appear before me full of promise but then run away

to a narrow black room that is always dark,

where they are silent, elegant, like antique gold,

devouring the thing I feel. I want the force

of attraction to crush the force of repulsion

and my inner and outer worlds to pierce

one another, like a horse whipped by a man.

I don’t want words to sever me from reality.

I don’t want to need them. I want nothing

to reveal feeling but feeling—as in freedom,

or the knowledge of peace in a realm beyond,

or the sound of water poured in a bowl.

–by Henri Cole


Green Shade

With my head on his spotted back and his head on the grass—a little bored with the quiet motion of life and a cluster of mosquitoes making hot black dunes in the air—we slept with the smell of his fur engulfing us. It was as if my dominant functions were gazing and dreaming in a field of semiwild deer. It was as if I could dream what I wanted, and what I wanted was to long for nothing— no facts, no reasons—never to say again, “I want to be like him,” and to lie instead in the hollow deep grass—without esteem or riches— gazing into the big, lacquer black eyes of a deer.

— by Henri Cole [Nara Deer Park]