Issue 82, Winter 1981
Ecstatic fleece that ripples to your nape
and reeks of negligence in every curl!
To people my dim cubicle tonight
with memories shrouded in that head of hair,
I’d have it flutter like a handkerchief!
For torpid Asia, torrid Africa
—the wilderness I thought a world away—
survive at the heart of this dark continent. . .
As other souls set sail to music, mine,
0 my love! embarks on your redolent hair.
Take me, tousled current, to where men
as mighty as the trees they live among
submit like them to the sun’s long tyranny;
ebony sea, you bear a brilliant dream
of sails and pennants, mariners and masts,
a harbor where my soul can slake its thirst
for color, sound and smell—where ships that glide
through seas of golden silk throw wide
their yardarms to embrace a glorious sky
palpitating in eternal heat.
Drunk, and in love with drunkenness, I’ll dive
into this ocean where the other lurks,
and solaced by these waves, my restlessness
will find a fruitful lethargy at last,
rocking forever at aromatic ease.
Blue hair, vault of shadows, be for me
the canopy of overarching sky;
here at the downy roots of every strand
I stupefy myself on the mingled scent
of musk and tar and coconut oil for hours. . .
For hours? Forever! Into that splendid mane
let me braid rubies, ropes of pearls to bind
you indissolubly to my desire—
you the oasis where I dream, the gourd
from which I gulp the wine of memory.