Nothing Changes the Miles Between Us

Su Shi (Su Dongpo)—1037-1101

This started as a tanka—as I thought about modern technology and love and how to work them together into poems after reading Andrew Griffin’s fine love poem, I see your number—but I quickly realized it could not be crammed in thirty-one syllables. Or at least not by me.

Nothing Changes the Miles Between Us

This keyboard, this screen, this camera,
these speakers change nothing—distance
remains distance, three thousand miles
remain three thousand miles

To see a face, hear a voice
over oceans, across continents
only seems to keep us closer than
letters back and forth

But we still drift through long nights
in a pale glow cold as moonlight melting
off the mountain snow, seeping slow
through the miles between us

The way the same moon’s light leaked
and puddled throughout the weary, red
dust days of Du Fu and Su Shi, turned
their eyes to milky pools

Focused on distant love while joints
grew arthritic and ached into poems
dripping from the star-pierced night
to be drunk from cupped hands

I can watch your face, the way your
lips curve as you whisper, but never feel
your breath on my neck, your breasts
grow heavy in my hands

About John MacKenzie

I'll mumble for ya. Poetry, plus most things quantifiable: science, neuroscience, memory, epistemology, baseball. And so on.
This entry was posted in Art is lies, Chinese poetry, Creativity, Du Fu, John MacKenzie, Language, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Process, Science, Social Commentary, Su Shi, The Moon, Time and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Nothing Changes the Miles Between Us

  1. tankawanka says:

    Thankfully, you did not confine yourself to 31 syllables, every word is gorgeous.


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