Today I’m thinking of all the people not in love: I’m with you!
———-I’d like to say, though one of the conditions
Of not being in love is that you can’t hear other people not in love.
———-You can only hear beautiful people, who have
Symphonies for faces: Grace Kelly, Dominique Sanda, Emmanuelle
———-Béart, ah, beautiful (can you hear the cellos
And clarinets?), but hmm, maybe not, they are beautiful but distant:
———-and what we want is not only the beautiful
But the possible: for what is love but an opening of the possible?
———-To be possible you must be new and nearby:
You must also look available, or the windows will inevitably close:
———-oh Alexs with an “s” at the record store,
Alexs so inscrutable, with your long blonde hair and Sanda-like face
———-and that Sanskrit tattoo on your wrist,
You died, you died that day I bought the new Tom Waits and said,
———-“Hi, Alexs, right?” and you said, “Huh,”
Nodding your head and not looking up: Jo Ann vanquished you,
———-Jo Ann of the perfect mouth and imperfect
Yoga technique, who gave me her number in the YMCA parking lot
———-but halfway through our first coffee date
Revealed she was married: now I’m struggling, really struggling,
———-to keep her alive. I walk around these days
And my footsteps go, Nobody, nobody. I cup possibility in my hands
———-like a mouse. Oh you out there not in love,
I know how it is, when you wake up in the morning and look down
———-at your body like an émigré looking back
Disgustedly at his homeland; when you peer through the blinds
———-and the world is nothing but a grey side;
When you feel each day is a dart flung at a target you keep missing
———-because who, or where, or what is the target?
The soul cannot live like this, the soul needs a cable, a clasp, its talons
———-are itching for a peak, there’s too much space
And it’s thinning out like smoke: you step out of the furrow of the future
———-onto an asphalt present. Worse, there’s
A whiff of sin about you, because not to be in love with a person
———-should never stop you from being
In love with the world: and the problem is you’ve fallen out of love
———-with the world. You’ve come to hear
An underlying Goddammit! in everything, and never notice the trees
———-tossing their heads in the wind like conductors.
Previously published in Man on Extremely Small Island.
Jason Koo is the author of Man on Extremely Small Island (C&R Press, 2009), winner of the De Novo Poetry Prize and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop Members’ Choice Award for the best Asian American book of 2009.
Object(s) to bring back to life: “I’d bring back those old Topps baseball card packs, with the stick of pink gum inside that left a residue on the top card. Also phone booths and handwritten letters.”