Adrienne Rich – Twenty One Love Poems No. 2

Adrienne Rich
Twenty One Love Poems
No. 2

I wake up in your bed. I know I have been dreaming.
Much earlier, the alarm broke us from each other,
You’ve been at your desk for hours. I know what I dreamed:
our friend the poet comes into my room
where I’ve been writing for days,
drafts, carbons, poems are scattered everywhere,
and I want to show her one poem
which is the poem of my life. But I hesitate,
and wake. You’ve kissed my hair
to wake me. I dreamed you were a poem,
I say, a poem I wanted to show someone…
and I laugh and fall dreaming again
of the desire to show you to everyone I love,
to move openly together
in the pull of gravity, which is not simple,
which carries the feathered grass a long way down the upbreathing air.


Ah the beds we have slept on in the houses’ of kind lovers after they have left. They leave us there alone to imagine what it is like to be them in their space. They leave us to spread our body further in their bed, to take over the bed, to stretch like an octopus sucking in their smell and their sheets and their space. What offerings! They want us to wake up there, and to feel alone and to desire to have them back in our arms.. They have to go to work early, they have to catch a flight, or a train, they have to leave and they are kind enough to let you stay, to let you trot further and deeper in the dream world…

And then

There’s waking up there in a house of a lover. There is the new lover’s house and old lover’s house.. There’s the lover who lives alone, the lover who lives with others, the lover who lives with a pet, the lover who lives with a lover that is not you, there are all sorts of loves, all sorts of lovers. Each of them a different adventure, a different dance, a different style. 

To feel your body alone in someone else’s space, and to look at their house dreaming of their eyes and the way they look at their house, to think about the motions they go through before leaving their house, to use their bathroom, to make their bed, to take a look at their fridge, to walk around naked, to smile, to leave.

Ah the leaving… when you close that door and walk to the street and no one on the street knows that you are coming out to this world from hours of love making…

how loveless this world could be sometimes…

There’s a poet somewhere right-now sleeping in a lover’s bed exhausted by their passion, there’s a poet somewhere somehow managed to be loved without being forced to submit to social norms – there’s a poet out there pissing from the tallest building in New York City or drinking a cappuccino in small bus station just outside Tunis and reading a small paperback book. There’s a poet somewhere looking through eyes of thousand lovers and tasting the air of many strange houses.

Look lilacs are growing on her tongue, and a cow is learning how to tango on smooth floors of his bare chest. And then there’s a poet… drinking a lukewarm coffee, alone, banging on a keyboard behind piles of excel cells build up like the grate wall of china knowing a world of beauty exist out there, sundresses, ice cream cones, sound of someone biting into a crunchy apple, green lush grass, young couples, old couples, and smell of fresh baked bread, and he knows he’s not in it.. there are poets in everywhere in any given moment… look at them – look at them and be grateful that you are not him or her – look at them and be afraid for poets can’t just wake up and leave.. 

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