First Love
                                                               for José Angel Valente

You were my first love,
or maybe the second
but came on so strong you,
roiling and rushing
hurling and bursting,
     carried me, flung me,
kissed me
                   and caught me.
I loved you,
I knew you,
         how well then
I thought then
                          I knew you! 

and comforts so easily
come by, so full throated,
whispered and shouted and sung by
my multi-tongued lover
of swift rushing

kisses were weapons
and weapons were wishes

for long morning languor,
when night followed day
all emptied of anger

         as with all lovers:
ask little, give mountains.

No longer.
    Where did you go to?

What happened to you?
So changed
            beyond recognition?

What manner of men?  Whose house
do you live in?  Whose lips
do you fall from; whose tongue
now you dance on?  Whose throat
do you hide in, dressed up
in lies of such shameless
conception?  Whose ears
do you  shatter, desperate to enter?

Oh Words!  Oh love of a lifetime!
Oh pustules of madness! Oh stench of dead neurons.

Do you remember
our farewell encounter
when I made the vow?

Words I abjure you,
I love you no longer….

 …Words, are you listening?
Why don’t you answer?

Will Kirkland
1980, Spain