Lenya to Weill, 1928
I first sang for you,
tucked in a long sunrise that rose
to where the midday sun was waiting.
The bass notes’ low tide still wiggles deep
in my smaller toes, a grasp—
that first grasp still holds.
If you cast me back inside, cast me
back inside. The future is a new idea,
a truth arriving unannounced. Your fame
will go through my voice, but why
not sing a duet to
the morning’s birds, perched and ready?
to me, beyond the catch
of my eye. I know a little bit
about my ghost and me.
We see the same thing look back
from hills to my eye.
We never tell the truth of it
but try and find imagination where
the dream slides further.
Say chariot and it races.
Say a cherry and feel sweet and red and tonguey.
The tongue is in, is here, and in
here is the world. My ghost
puts a hand on my face, doubling
my touch: I too am here.
Hills and furrows weave the muscles’
warp and weft.
Ley lines entwine me, draw me,
open and hold a hand, a face.
The red cloth speaks inside its fissure,
opens and holds another body.
The red cloth folds and unfolds multitudes:
it is both crowd and shore.
We came to the shore and saw a boat approaching. It held a dozen passengers who stood while the boat sped over the water. The hull barely touched the water’s surface, the keel cutting through. The water briefly parted, then filled the cut smooth.
The ship reached the shore, and when the passengers unloaded onto the sand, the boat turned and soon passed into the darkness. The passengers approached us, talking and believing we knew something about this place, but we too were beginning.
One knew me and called me by name. He was a friend I had last seen years ago, a dear friend who stood in my memory and now stood here in the sand before me. I knew he had a beautiful voice and asked him to sing.