Born, I was born.
Tears represent how much my mother loves me,
shivering and steaming like a horse in rain.
My heart as innocent as Buddha's,
my name a Parisian bandleader's,
I am trying to stand.
Father is holding me and blowing in my ear,
like a glassblower on a flame.
Stars on his blue serge uniform flaunt a feeling
of formal precision and stoicism.
Growing, I am growing now,
as straight as red pines in the low mountains.
Please don't leave, Grandmother Pearl.
I become distressed
watching the president's caisson.
We, we together move to the big house.
Shining, the sun is shining on my time line.
Tears, copper-hot tears,
spatter the house
when Father is drunk, irate, and boisterous.
The essence of self emerges
shuttling between parents.
Noel, the wet nimbus of Noel's tongue
draws me out of the pit.
I drop acid with Rita.
Chez Woo eros is released.
I eat sugar like a canary from a grown man's tongue.
The draft card torn up;
the war lost.
I cling like a cicada to the latticework of memory.
Mother: "I have memories, too.
Don't let me forget them."
Father: "I'm glad the journey is set.
I'm glad I'm going."
Crows, the voices of crows
leaving their nests at dawn, circle around,
as I sit in a gold kimono,
feeling the subterranean magma flows,
the sultry air, the hand holding a pen,
bending to write,
Mother and Father, for creating me.
- Henri Cole