I. You and I
Who are you?
A surface warm to my fingers,
a solid form, an occupant of space,
a makeshift kind of enjoyment,
a pitiless being who runs away like water,
something left unfinished, out of inferior matter,
Something God thought of.
Nothing, sometimes everything,
something I cannot believe in,
a foolish argument, you, yourself, not I,
an enemy of mine. My lover.
thighs and groins tight-jean-displayed,loiter onto Union Square,
junkies flower-scattered there,lost in dream, torso-bare,
young as you, old as I, voicing soundlessly a cry ...
Androgyne, mon amour,
shadows of you name a price
exorbitant for short lease.
What would you suggest I do,
wryly smile and turn away,
fox-teeth gnawing chest-bones through?
Even less would that be true
than, carnally, I was to you
many, many lives ago,
requiems of fallen snow.
Androgyne, mon amour,
cold withdrawal is no cure
for addiction grown so deep.
Now, finally, at cock's crow,
released in custody of sleep,
dark annealment, time-worn stonesfar descending,
no light there, no sound there,
entering depths of thinning breath,
farther down more ancient stones,
halting not, drawn on until
Ever treacherous, ever fair,
at a table small and square,
not first light but last light shows ...Androgyne, mon amour.
III. Winter Smoke
Winter smoke is blue and bitter:
women comfort you in winter.
Scent of thyme is cool and tender:
girls are music to remember.
Men are made of rock and thunder:
threat of storm to labor under.
Cypress woods are demon-dark:
boys are fox-teeth in your heart.
IV. Liturgy of Roses
This is for you for whom bloom certainly roses ...
and all of those doors floating open on those who have roses
going to those who have roses, in chambers which those without roses
possess no license to enter.
Roses, all roses, the immense impartiality of all God
and all roses,
orifice emptying, never emptied of roses.
Because you are tolerant only of those who have roses,
Your eyes ... saying, These roses, all roses, my roses,
Though still in the arms of those who came bearing roses.
And by the same token confessing: My tongue, my tongue,
not your body,
my body, my body, not yours,
while murmuring You, while continually murmuring
You, you, you, which is translated to I
no matter how murmured to whom.
V. Wolf's hour
Well, it's three A.M.
after an hour's sleep and a blond youth who declined to stay with me.Wolf's hour of night is not well-spent alone.
Nevertheless there is this bit of comfort:
in my hands' curved remembrance there remains indelibly
the unclothed flesh of the youth who refused to stay longer,and I could settle for less,
God knows if not unknowing.
VI. The Ice-Blue Wind
Being expert on the zither
he gave concerts twice a winter ...
His fingers knew The Ice-Blue Wind
that single score and nothing more.
But what of that? It did suffice
to close him in a wall of ice,
Tinged with distance, always blue,
which somehow warmed him through and through.
Long, long after all had gone,
and in the hall crept winter dawn,
He would strike a final string,
take a bow and proudly shin
Up a column up to the roof,
in union with The Absolute.
VII. You and I
Who am I?
A wounded man, badly bandaged,
a monster among angels or angel among monsters,
a box of questions shaken up and scattered on the floor,
A foot on the stairs, a voice on a wire,
a busy collection of thumbs that imitate fingers,
an enemy of yours. Your lover.
Text copyright © 1979 by Tennessee Williams. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.