Denise Levertov

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.


Mental diagnosis felt like an act. A script I shouldn’t have played into. Some do. Some need to. Those whose function cannot find place. Like mine at the time. But I was passing through—turbulent heartbreaks, growing pains, clashes with Hims—and mistook role for reality. I overthought my relation to it, that joy and suffering, and tied it to a being beyond. I regret that now. Or at least can see it as it was: seeking, clenching, grasping. Am I nothing more than a need to reach? Maybe. I’m human. Some childlike essence that shows in contours when ignoring and blurring details of pores. Take off my glasses and focus on the obscure. The fuzz. That uncertainty between me and it. Subject in/to object. Still disoriented in space, lost along the way, I may trip a few times too many, but that’s okay. Because it’s only and not me at all. 


Staring out the window of an eleventh-floor conference room. Beyond glossy tables topped with glasses of water, the sun sets over Melbourne. She never looks the same. Skyline always seems to change. Haven’t been here long enough to recognize what was, let alone how it becomes. Alas, I distract. Watching red and white pass, to and from flowers and the hive. In a split moment, into those lights, I feel detached from this life. Will anything we say here translate there? What to make of a tower. Bathing in philosophy while people without water. Sliced by fences. Strip-searched of rights. In here, few cushioned. Sipping. Talking, thinking, reading, and writing. Arranging thoughts, growing fields. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. I mustn’t belong. Not—able—enough. But who is to say who gets to stay? An amniotic slip, gasping for air. Between pockets of meaning and earning. Where are they going? Home to families or alone in boxes. Nowhere and everywhere, staring into a screen, just like me. That space I crave, pushing every him away. Curling “Learn Spanish and Leave” into the margin. Not complaining, just debating. What a fucking gift: to be a student. But what’s the point trying to hold a line? Seeking a PhD? Injecting Latin. Punctuating rationality and morality. The letters and numbers don’t add up. An insufficient balance = halted reach. Or can it seep from seats into policies? Alter the next for this planet. Where’s the ripple? Bouncing on a grid, sliding through that divine intersect, I giggle. Prefer poetry. But isn’t it all when the last petals fall?

may be

maybe too soon to understand
maybe each used other as a means to our own misguidance
maybe we weren’t ready for It
maybe I like to clean up just to make a mess
impossible to see before a turn
to name the before
could have sworn we felt without words

maybe we’ll recollect these scattered selves,
restrengthen the illusion
becoming ends in and of ourselves.
find that place there’s nowhere else to go,
for now just keep going and going

maybe I think what may be too much.
certainly we’ll never know.


cycled the whole city
river to the sea
terraced lanes my map’s never seen
but didn’t shed a bead of sweat
cheeks just got a little red
negotiating gears
to coil her chain
thinking back, peddled so fast
I didn’t feel a thing riding into that crash
locked in bed the next few days
wading within some psychotic break
until leaving again
for another spin