Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Walid Bitar


I'll compare you to the outskirts of Copenhagen,
I'll compare you to a swan made of twisted
coat-hangers, to Mars, to a toad, to pink
gum stretched from the pavement by a clog, to a rose,
a mailman's uniform, the Klondike Goldrush,
popcorn spilled on a black velvet purse,
an alligator, a sky blue bongo drum,
a pomegranate with many cavities, a pine nut,
an unsigned income tax return, I'll compare 
you to a pear, an avocado, I don't care
as long as after all is said and done
it wasn't you I was talking about--let all
these comparisons be so much confetti decking out
the cathedral of amnesia which, by the way,
is not a cathedral at all, it's a labyrinth,
a celebration, onion soup, a mallard, and yes
I'm happy the neighbors love us very much
because they're gulls made of swans made of twisted
coat-hangers, and all my clothes are on the floor, and I'm-
naked? No, this is not my body-you're naked;
get away from my clothes; I love those clothes!
From now on you do what I do, you are me,
not you at all-I'll do what you like, like plantains,
like apple pie, double digit inflation, and then baboons.
In turn, repeat after me: I. Now it's your turn: "I."

copyright 1993 from 2 Guys on Holy Land