Watching Sleep

Last night I counted your breaths while you slept.
Towards morning, I lost count, but
you awoke a few minutes later,
so I rounded the number off
and privately recorded your many thousands of sleeping
breaths, in the journal of love I am making for you.
This entry:  the night I counted your breaths while you slept.
I wanted to do this.
I wanted to have a secret way of loving you,
so that all the known ways I love you
can have a private underside,
a place where love is always new and mysterious.
I know that you count my breaths while I am awake.
Somewhere, inside the often-painful activity of your mind,
you find a peaceful grotto, and there
you count my breaths, without even knowing you are doing it.
Your love is so constant, 
it is a place I can go where fear does not exist,
has never existed.
I must practice harder than you, to love.
I must keep awake and make vigil, sometimes,
so that,  while you dream,
I am doing something important,
being the clock of your breath,
helping you sleep.
I can do nothing more loving for you
than to help you sleep.
You always wanted someone to watch over you.
You felt abandoned and alone.
With this secret, I heal you.
I count the long slow breaths, I catch at the sudden twitches,
I invent words to accompany your dream-mumbled incoherences.
I might show you this poem, if it will make you happy.
I wanted it to be a secret.  But tomorrow night, or the next,
I will do it again, or I will do something else,
find another way to love you,
something only I could think of doing,
and only you could understand
why I have done it. 

Look: A Love Poem

Look around you:
look at the people, so driven, driven
by a force
relentless as gravity
inescapable as day and night, life and death.
The power that winds us and grinds us,
makes us crazy is the hunger for love,
the search for love,  the absence of love,
the loss of love.
Its effects are everywhere,
visible and invisible,
in this landscape of loss
and loneliness
the search grips everyone
obsessive as a drug hunger
so intrusive and demanding
that we are not even aware
as it seeps into the air we breathe,
the molecules of our daily existence
have sponged it up
so that it becomes like the music
from the next apartment
or from a passing car,
a beat felt,
vibrating up through the floor, humming
in the walls, everywhere.
I will wear clothes that get me love…
I will scent myself
to find love…
I will paint my face
to attract love…
I will sculpt my body
to perfect love….
I will groom my hair
to waft love…
I will signal my hunger
without knowing my desperation…
I will scream my loneliness
in silent longing glances
across parties,
in stores,
twist my neck,
twist my soul
for its wanting……
want my soul
without knowing
that it is love
without a search
without a need
without a struggle.
It took me but half a life
to meet the person
in whom love made a home for me;
I twisted and howled so loud
I did not see her when she first knocked at my door.
Her face was not familiar
her smell was strange
her voice was odd
I kept looking
like so many fools before me
love did not make the noise
of the neighbor’s apartment
the thump of the passing car
love was unexpected
because I was drawing children’s pictures
in a book wi th a silly title:
True Love For Soul Mates in Eternity.
That was the wrong book.
My love gently took the book from my hand;
here, she whispered, look around you
this is what love really is:
only when you’ve exhausted your immaturity
are you ready
to care for someone
as deeply as I now care
for you.
Look around you
at the heartsick lonely ones
who sniff greedily but disdainfully
for a few moments
at the possibility of love
and then move on,
hoping somehow love will find them
when they have missed its delicate sign
a thousand times, so busy with the pursuit
that they have failed the simple lessons
of caring.
Now I have, at last, exhausted enough immaturity
that your voice is familiar,
your face is beautiful
your music is here,
in the room with me,
not some distant fateful sound,
here, with me,
I hear you, I see you,
I smell you,
I love you more
all the time.