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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life

Three Poems
by Gerald Nicosia ||
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Marcy, This One's For You

Our marriage was marked by courthouse appearances
It started with your bankruptcy
Then we got into the Bar Exams
Eventually you were sworn in
then we moved to divorce filings
At last there was the final decree
I can still see all those marble floors
The echoes of our hopes in the drafty corridors
You were always nervous, moving fast
As if afraid you might get stuck
In one of those official places
And never find your soul again
I tagged along, amused, bemused,
Like some absent-minded court clerk
I wanted only to make you happy
I kept wondering why we weren't back in the hills
Above Big Sur, or up in Gualala
I knew we'd get trapped eventually
In some courthouse logbook,
misery and contention,"irreconcilable differences,"
Documented for eternity
And there we are now, where future bored historians
Or dullard law students in need of a corpus delicti
Can find the footprints of everything that went wrong
But the things that went right have not died either
They've only gone underground
I kept trying to tell you that Love
Has nothing to do with the Law.

Don't Be Afraid of Beautiful Women

Don't be afraid of beautiful women
Some of them have been put in strait jackets
Others have died long deaths on lovely Grecian isles
Still others had no father and no mother
They are as human as you are
And probably feel even more pain
At knowing that beauty isn't always the truth
Keats notwithstanding
It's a million-mile journey
To the mind's eye that knows
What it's like on the other side.

How Can We Count Upon Love?
for Ellen

How can we count upon love
When the afternoon spends itself
Among our trivial pursuits
Making me wonder whether love can survive
So many insults to its integrity
A world too diverse
To be condensed into a single message
That will tell you how much I love you?
How can love stay with me
Through so many voices and chores
And doors I'll never go through
Even by myself,
though I keep following
The sounds in the wind
And my hands keep busy
At keyboard or lawn mower
While my head keeps getting turned by the telephone
Not to mention a million disembodied spirits
That call for my attention every day?
Life keeps running out
Like the lines down this page
I keep praying I'll get back in my brain
Before somebody discovers I'm really not home
And always you wait, patient or irritated
Getting dragged away by your own river
Of forgettable tasks
Knowing that only what you feel the deepest
Will ever get across the gap between us
And provoke enough regret
To make me lift my head for just a second
And look at both of us outside of time
And hear love snap!
Like a tiny firecracker
That lets you know it came and went
Only by those long long hours
Of quiet absence.

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