I Don’t Know You

I don’t know you
I know you
Live across the street
I don’t know women
They live in some other heart

I don’t know myself
I often live in another place
Across some desert
For now
I don’t know love
Since it was stolen
Along with things of less importance

And now you’ve crossed the street
Standing at the door
Offering your hand
But I don’t know you
Wouldn’t know open from closed
Because I can’t see
These saucer eyes are surprise
And fear

I might as well be my little nephew Shaw
Stuck between the desire to stand
Six feet away
And right up close
On tip toes
Drawn like a moth
To see the light coming from your palm
So new a thing
Undefined
No words

If you come closer
To sit nearby
I will have to pretend
I know
That across the street is not that far
That I have a sense of what beats in a woman’s heart
That I live here in this present place
That love is right over there in the Lost and Found
Along with other things of less importance

JLGrady
8.11

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7 responses to “I Don’t Know You

  1. in Bukowski’s drunken words:

    man mowing the lawn across the way from me

    I watch you walking with your machine.
    ah, you’re too stupid to be cut like grass,
    you’re too stupid to let anything violate you— the girls won’t use their knives on you
    they don’t want to
    their sharp edge is wasted on you,
    you are interested only in baseball games and
    western movies and grass blades.

    can’t you take just one of my knives?
    here’s an old one — stuck into me in 1955,
    she’s dead now, it wouldn’t hurt much.
    I can’t give you this last one—I can’t pull it out yet,
    but here’s one from 1964, how about taking
    this 1964 one from me?

    man mowing the lawn across the way from me
    don’t you have a knife somewhere in your gut
    where love left?

    man mowing the lawn across the way from me
    don’t you have a knife somewhere deep in your heart
    where love left?

    man mowing the lawn across the way from me
    don’t you see the young girls walkign down the sidewalks now
    with knives in their purses?
    don’t you see their beautiful eyes and dresses and
    hair?
    don’t you see their beautiful asses and knees and
    ankles?

    man mowing the lawn across the way from me
    is that all you see— those grass blades?
    is that all you hear—the drone of the mower?

    I can see all the way to Italy
    to Japan
    to the Honduras
    I can see the young girls sharpening their knives
    in the morning and at noon and at night, and
    especially at night, o,
    especially at night.

    • OMG and Wow. Do you think we can get him to write with us, Robbi?!
      I will say your additions are so poignant I almost want to shrink back.
      Almost, buddy, just almost… that’s all.
      Please keep on with us!

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