young love

a poem by William Carlos Williams

What about all this writing?

O “Kiki”
O Miss Margaret Jarvis
The backhandspring
I: clean
clean: yes . . New York

Wrigley’s, appendicitis, John Marin:
skyscraper soup—

Either that or a bullet!


anything might have happened
You lay relaxed on my knees—
the starry night
spread out warm and blind
above the hospital—


It is unclean
which is not straight to the mark—


In my life the furniture eats me

the chairs, the floor
the walls
which heard your sobs
drank up my emotion—
they which alone know everything

and snitched on us in the morning—


What to want?

Drunk we go forward surely
Not I

beds, beds, beds
elevators, fruit, night-tables
breasts to see, white and blue—
to hold in the hand, to nozzle


It is not onion soup
Your sobs soaked through the walls
breaking the hospital to pieces
—windows, chairs
obscenely drunk, spinning—

white, blue, orange
—hot with our passion
wild tears, desperate rejoinders
my legs, turning slowly
end over end in the air!

But what would you have?


All I said was:
there, you see, it is broken
stockings, shoes, hairpins
your bed, I wrapped myself round you—

I watched.

You sobbed, you beat your pillow
you tore your hair
you dug your nails into your sides

I was your nightgown
I watched!


Clean is he alone
after whom stream
the broken pieces of the city—
flying apart at his approaches

but I merely
caressed you curiously
fifteen years ago and you still
go about the city, they say
patching up sick school children


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