Henri Cole

Twilight
Home | Nothing to Declare | Touch | Selected Poems | Other Books | Foreign Editions | Collaborations | Introduction | Listening Room | More Information

There's a black bear

in the apple tree

and he won't come down.

I can hear him panting,

like an athlete.

I can smell the stink                                                      

of his body.

 

Come down, black bear.

Can you hear me?

 

The mind is the most interesting thing to me;

like the sudden death of the sun,

it seems implausible that darkness will swallow it

or that anything is lost forever there,

like a black bear in a fruit tree,

gulping up sour apples

with dry sucking sounds,

 

or like us at the pier, somber and tired,

making food from sunlight,

you saying a word, me saying a word, trying hard,

though things were disintegrating.

Still, I wanted you,

your lips on my neck,

your postmodern sexuality. 

Forlorn and anonymous:

I didn't want to be that.  I could hear

the great barking monsters of the lower waters

calling me forward.

 

You see, my mind takes me far,

but my heart dreams of return.

 

Black bear,

with pale-pink tongue

at the center of his face,

is turning his head,

like the face of Christ from life.

Shaking the apple boughs,

he is stronger than I am

and seems so free of passion -

no fear, no pain, no tenderness.  I want to be that.

 

Come down, black bear,

I want to learn the faith of the indifferent.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Susan Unterberg (unless otherwise noted).