This is June 22, 1974.
When are you?
If we passed each other on the street,
I would not catch your eyes with mine
except for a discreet instant.
If you were the only other passenger on a bus,
I would take another seat,
not share yours.
I would perhaps comment on the weather,
but probably not say, "At last, we've met!"
or "I love you!" or even "Dear Reader, I presume?"
But then, here I am writing you a poem,
and I don't say, "Whew! Warm weather.
Wish they'd finish up with Nixon already...".
You and I, we are well-mannered,
we know how to play the game.
We have only one freedom:
The freedom to become freer of our game.
My name is Dean Blehert.
Do you have another name?
Or am I rereading this myself
ten years from now?
Or is it centuries later,
and I have another name myself
and don't remember writing this,
and my friends might smirk
if I said, "In the mid-twentieth century,
I used to be Dean Blehert."
Sure, Sam, sure.
Perhaps it is 2004 as you read,
and I write in the good old days.
Whenever you are, why don't you
be the good old days,
and I will now look nostalgically forward,
remembering when people will dress the way you do
and Blehert's poems were all the rage.
I don't know if I've ever seen you,
but I'll bet I know what the inside of your mouth
Ugliness is ugliness,
and yet I know
we hold our faces in these grimaces
out of love--
to hold back the beauty
that once gave pain.
We have moved apart
only to be able to play catch.
Tonight, the night of the day I write this,
I am going to watch the sunset.
Tonight, the night of the day you read this,
you, too, watch the sunset,
each of us noting that the other
is now watching the sunset.
Or if you don't have sunsets anymore,
I am now touching my left nostril
with my left index finger: You touch yours
the same way. See?
(If you don't have a left index finger
or a left nostril,
touch the sunset
as I am now touching the sunset.)
Tell me the truth now:
Don't you respond this way
with all the poets you read?