A- A A+

Love is the absence of reasons to hate

2 Comments
Michael Sariban |  29 September 2009

You never saw yourself
You never saw yourself asleep —
as far as you let on. You'd read stories
about near-death events, books
on lucid dreaming —
intrigued by a spirit looking down on its body
from just below the ceiling, or circling its house


like a hawk.
Never saw yourself through my eyes,
invincible without your defences,
drained of fear and hostility, forgiven
there & then.

You never saw yourself, asleep,
totally out of the loop, basic as an infant —
an equation so readily solved, all
my matching hostilities would evaporate
on the spot.
Only to form again the next day,
the fine human rain of mistrust.

Cooling down
We've been fighting, you've been beating
your fists against my intractable wall —
your version, of course, flawed as mine.
It's taken us years to give up on logic,
to realise neither will bleed to death.
It's exhausting, even so, and you opt
for an early night.
You won't be aware of this rain, its muffled,
irregular heartbeat borrowing from ours.

Cool air starts to settle on your skin,
your sleepwalking fingers tug at the sheet.
I pull it up over your shoulder, my alien fingers
blend seamlessly with those in your virtual world.
Outside, a massive eucalypt trunk now looks
like a fat man in a sauna,
its red hide sweating a pearly fever
that will be gone by morning.
Sleep can be our referee, holding up
a score card tomorrow, if we still
want to know.

Whatever you asked
Whatever you asked, either of you: take
this medicine, take this food. Shape your lips
around this prayer. Close your eyes:
goodnight, goodnight.
For the years that are counted on fingers,
you had me in the palms of your hands,
cherished, watched over, controlled —
so clearly in focus, I might have been heirloom:
all care not to drop it, ever.
Care written into the contract. Before it is
anything, love is precisely the absence
of reasons to hate.

Bending over me at bedtime — blankets
up to my chin, waiting to kiss and be kissed —
you would have thought it odd to inquire
if I loved you in return, connected to you
as I was by words, at home
in your time and space.

Everything seems a given, until time
drives a wedge. It must all be intended —
misunderstandings, resentments, the jumble
of rights and wrongs.
Neither side quite forgiving the other
for feeling a need to move on.


Michael SaribanBrisbane poet Michael Sariban is the author of four collections. These poems are from two forthcoming titles: The Devil You Know ('Cooling down' and 'You never saw yourself') and Berlin Journal ('Whatever you asked').

 


Michael Sariban

Recent articles by this author


Comments

Comments should be short, respectful and on topic. Email is requested for identification purposes only.

Word Count: 0 (please limit to 200)

Submitted comments

Michael, I loved a poem you published in The Oz in 1994 or '95 about the smell of meat cooking, exciting the old lusts... I had it clipped on my fridge for years but it vanished in one of my many house-shifts... Have you published it in a volume?

Rod Blaine 29 September 2009

Hi Michael,

What a poem! Love it. thank you.

Joseph Pulinthanath sdb 29 September 2009

Similar articles

The wet sheep: a football eulogy

1 Comment
Brian Matthews | 07 October 2009The one thing more potent than the anticipation of seeing your team in a grand final is the misery of seeing them defeated. A wet, bedraggled lamb glimpsed en route to Melbourne proved to be an ill omen for one footy fan.


Kisses of life and death

1 Comment
Ian C. Smith | 06 October 2009The kiss of peace in the Eucharist .. Judas' kiss of death, CPR's of life .. Georgie Porgie's, spin the bottle's .. the kiss of a rolling billiard ball .. Gene Simmons' great tongue Kiss


Death by tiger

1 Comment
L.K. Holt | 22 September 2009Grand MothThe teenage boy .. drunk, taunting, now hanging from .. your latch of jaw


Larrikin poet's Sentimental 'slanguage'

3 Comments
Brian Matthews | 16 September 2009C. J. Dennis once wrote that, as a boy, he had 'a devout and urgent desire to become a larrikin'. The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke provides a window on part of Australian culture and the traditions, speech and images that forged it.


African parables

2 Comments
Grant Fraser | 15 September 2009

Cinnamon Dusted ChildrenMen who stood before the gate .. trail the weight of empty hands, empty pockets .. Back to the shanties .. Where children are launching imagined craft .. Away from the stench of earth .. Into pools .. the colour of Keen's Mustard.