Denis Johnson

Denis Johnson
Denis Johnson 1949-2017

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Here's to the Summer Solstice on Sunday, June 21st!


Most of you know that I am gaga about the solstices!  There is something magical about the Summer Solstice - even after living in Southern Arizona for 20 plus years. Over 15 hours of daylight and extra vibrational energy. Solar lagniappe!  I dare you to celebrate the extra light: make a love potion, light a bonfire, skinny-dip, picnic with a friend or lover  ~ 

In honor of excess ~ three poems for Summer Solstice 2015!

Peace, Ding Dongs, y el sol!  Elizabeth

******************************************* 

a hollyhock
shot up to meet
the summer solstice


*** 
Corazón mío, reina del apio y de la artesa:
pequeña leoparda del hilo y la cebolla:
me gusta ver brillar tu imperio diminuto,
las armas de la cera, del vino, del aceite,

del ajo, de la tierra, por tus manos abiertas
de la sustancia azul encendida en tus manos,
de la transmigración del sueño a la ensalada,
del reptil enrollado en la manguera.

Tú, con tu podadora levantando el perfume,
tú, con la dirección del jabón en la espuma,
tú, subiendo mis locas escalas y escaleras,

tú, manejando el síntoma de mi caligrafía
y encontrando en la arena del cuaderno
las letras extraviadas que buscaban tu boca.

My heart, queen of the beehive and the barnyard,
little leopard of the string and onions,
I love to watch your miniature empire
sparkle: your weapons of wax and wine and oil,

garlic, and the soil that opens for your hands,
the blue material that ignites in your hands,
the transmigration of dream into salad,
the snake rolled up in the garden hose.

You with your sickle that lifts the perfumes,
you with the bossy soapsuds,
you climbing my crazy ladders and stairs.

You taking charge: even my handwriting, its characteristics,
even the sand grains in my notebooks – finding in those pages
lost syllables that were searching for your mouth.


***


Summer Solstice

I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.