The first lifetime subscription to THE SUN arrives today, and I nearly weep. Then, I laugh. “Whose lifetime,” I wonder, “ours, or his?” It’s the closest a total stranger can come to saying, “I’ll love you forever.” But forever is a lie; the future isn’t ours to give. Or is it? Do we make our future at a level deeper than we are unmade by it? Is destiny an unpredictable wind, or our own breathing, in and out, now meat, now air, now something inhuman, in between?

I listen to the world breathing. Is it a rasping, or an exaltation of angels? The lung is a thin tissue, but life is “forever.” The wind blinds me. But the seasons arrive on time. All I know is contradiction — hurricane, and whisper; heavy sea, and tear: my heart’s punctuation. I make these sentences, like a heavy sail, to catch the wind. And they carry me to the edge. And with a yes and a yes I am falling, into the dream I dreamed of myself. A lifetime sentence.

* * *

For some, the metaphor is literal: bars, guards, fences. The mind turning on itself: the gardener seeing in his fist the flower, and the rain; his hand opens, there is no end to its opening. Craziness and sainthood are the same far shore. If “life is art” prison is the poem without windows. Brave, the poet who lives it. Brave, merely to live. To be born into shimmering flesh the eye soon learns to see as walls. To lock the heart, as if living itself were a crime. To become a name, or a number. To finger steel bars, and dare. The excerpts, in this issue, from Inside Out, are the petals of lives no different from ours.

And sometimes we look to the end
of the table, where there should be marriage-feasts
and find only, as it were,
black marigolds, and a silence.

Azeddin El Mocadecci

* * *

This typewriter closes like a flower at the end of the day. It’s not right. Everyone who writes receives a reply; even the clumsiest of the poets I address from the heart. Where are the words, then, for her to whom they’d mean the most?

It’s taken me nearly half a lifetime of trading in words to understand they are not mine. She gives them to me, out of the bowels of time, and lets me pretend to own them, like this body she gave me, too. She is cooking this sentence now, over love’s low flame. Do I make sense? Not if she is confused with her body, or vocabulary of place. In time, we have been strangers to one another; but in her kitchen, bent over this stew of light, that recipe without name, we chatter endlessly.

On Mother’s Day, I shall wrap her in my silences, like ribbons of truth.

— Sy