Paul Blackburn


    The Sea and the Shadow

                                               It falls.

                                               The night falls

                                               the night sky falls

                                               a star, the eyes follow, my

                                               hand falls

                                               It is never enough / I

                                               am hardly ever enough

                                               even to myself . .

I go

I go through the streets

I cross avenues, helpless against your anger

I go pulverized through narrow streets with paving stones

Let the walls fall, crumble, fall, crush me finally, end it

                                                the eyes / the hands

Your cunt is tight with anger

I can feel it a block away, your

                                               belly is tight

your asshole is loose with disdain

and fear


And I cannot stand it, your beauty

walks beside me like a

tree in motion under the wind

of my desires, with

standing them / standing in

an emptiness not your own that you hate

and feel it is your own , It is not, it

is mine also, let me, that damned sea,

I will come

                                               It falls.

                                               The half-hour would-be wholeness

                                               falls, the year falls, the mirror

                                               destroys itself / that year, a

                                               brilliant, at times quiescent

                                               star will fall

                                               into the sea

                                               I will come


I lie down /

the trees are bright with resisting

polished under the rain   .    have shed all their leaves


of summer stretch out behind me endless

                                                like memory like

I destroy myself running through open doors '

leading through empty rooms .

Or there is someone

huddled in a corner

                                               pissing / Yes.

I humiliate my life, piss it away, I am

my shoes, my black pair of sneakers walking

corridors, deserted beaches, cement sidewalks, sit ,

now beneath a chair .  torn  .  quiescent  .   my

laces flopped sideways on the floor

                                                fit, however,

to the foot, dingy shape of life

smelling of dried sweat, revived

                                               at any warmth

my worn fabric

yes, the corrugations


                                                I shall come

shaping all truths from my own balls, seeking in my skull

even those shaped years ago  /  I was too young, I looked

for a shadow at ten in the morning which will not appear

until four in the afternoon l my own

with the sun from the other direction and

                                               everything failing


I will come, I

shall come into your body as into the morning world,

as into a city filled with its leisure and softness,

where the soft light falls on the bird, the tree, the wall,

where the sun of mid-day is lost on the shadows of palm trees


                                               Fountains cool it

I shall come through your eyes from the other side, my

                                                water, my mirror

I will come into your belly and make it a sea rolling against me,

come into you soft as sleep  /  and be real

                                               You will cry the whole afternoon


. [1961/1962]