Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Seduction by Frank Bidart


Show him that you see he carries
always, everywhere, an enormous
almost impossible to balance or bear
statue of himself: burden that
flattering him
dwarfs him, like you. Make him
see that you alone decipher within him
the lineaments of the giant. Make him
see that you alone can help him shape
the inchoate works of his hand, till what
the statue is he is. He watches your helpless
gaze; your gaze
tells him that the world someday must see.
You are the dye whose color dyes
the mirror: he can never get free
You ask what is this place. He says
kids come to make out here. He has driven
out here to show you lovers’ lane.
Because your power in the world exceeds
his, he must make the first move.
His hand on the car seat doesn’t move.
He is Raleigh attending Elizabeth, still
able to disguise that he does not want her.
In banter and sweet colloquy, he freely,
abundantly shows you that what his
desire is is endless
intercourse with your soul. Everything
he offers, by intricate
omissions, displays what he denies you.
Beneath all, the no that you
persuade yourself
can be reversed.
You cannot reverse it: as if he is
safe from
engulfment only because he has
placed past reversal
the judgment that each
animal makes facing another.
You are an animal facing another.
Still you persuade yourself that it can be
reversed because he teasingly sprinkles
evasive accounts of his erotic history
with tales of dissatisfying but repeated
sex with men. He adds that he
could never fall in love with a man.
Helplessly, he points to the soiled
statue he strains to hold
unstained above him. He cannot.
You must write this without the least
trace of complaint. Standing at the edge of
the pool, for him there was no water.
You chose him not despite, but
because of. In the twenty-three years since
breaking with him, his spectre
insists that no one ever replaces anyone.
He is the dye whose color dyes
the mirror: you can never get free.
What is it that impels
What is it that impels us at least in
What is it that impels us at least in
imagination to close with to
interpenetrate flesh that accepts
craves interpenetration from
us with us
What is it What
Sweet cow, to heal the world, you must
jump over the moon. All you ask is
immolation, fantastic love resistlessly
drawn out of a withdrawn creature who
must turn himself inside out to give it:
dream coexistent with breathing.
Near the end, when the old absorbing
colloquy begins again, both he and you
find yourselves surrounded by ash.
To his meagre circumscribed desire whose
no you knew from the beginning, that you
want to pluck out of your eye forever,
you submit as if in mourning.
To ash, he too submits. In revenge
you chose submission, chose power. 

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