DR (1949 / Los Angeles, California)

To Play A Tune (Love Poem)

A fountain remains
the only durable object from those
two years of night-shifts, drunk nights,
nightmares in single rooms. Two years,
a continuous descent
to a source of myself that I couldn't
define. Almost everything was closed-off.
And I really thought it was all leading
to a source like that of the waves
where the quick water feeds
from the pollen
of melted snow.
I would come and sit in the garden
below tall flames of the unfallen maple
and watch the leaves blurred with dusk
in the shallow fountain shell.
And the night-shifts, the drunk nights,
nightmares in single rooms, the sirens,
the renewed leaves that depressed me―
everything― dissolved in that water.
I passed those years like some unborn
cicada, ripening underground. I passed
those years wrapped in a thick larval blanket.
And the cicada that sometimes does not emerge
before seventeen years, the cicada rises
to play a tune on its drum
which is a marriage song to its mate.
Through the years, the false ripenings
and the real ones, the jobs, and the endless travels,
I have risen like that toward one woman,
she is my pollen of melted snow,
my tall unfallen flame.
But from the other time― a fountain remains
the only durable thing, the only thing
that had no desire
to exceed or decrease
the small music that it made,
the only thing connected
to its source

by Doren Robbins

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