The Love Poems of Marichiko | Kenneth Rexroth, 1978

Édouard Boubat, A Gentle Eye, 1970


I

I sit at my desk.
What can I write to you?
Sick with love,
I long to see you in the flesh.
I can write only,
“I love you. I love you. I love you.”
Love cuts through my heart
And tears my vitals.
Spasms of longing suffocate me
And will not stop.

II

If I thought I could get away
And come to you,
Ten thousand miles would be like one mile.
But we are both in the same city
And I dare not see you,
And a mile is longer than a million miles.

IV

You ask me what I thought about
Before we were lovers.
The answer is easy.
Before I met you
I didn’t have anything to think about.

VI

Just us.
In our little house
Far from everybody,
Far from the world,
Only the sound of water over stone.
And then I say to you,
“Listen. Hear the wind in the trees.”

VII

Making love with you
Is like drinking sea water.
The more I drink
The thirstier I become,
Until nothing can slake my thirst
But to drink the entire sea.


IX

You wake me,
Part my thighs, and kiss me.
I give you the dew
Of the first morning of the world.

XV

Because I dream
Of you every night,
My lonely days
Are only dreams.

XVIII

Fires
Burn in my heart.
No smoke rises.
No one knows.

XX

Who is there? Me.
Me who? I am me. You are you.
You take my pronoun,
And we are us.

XXIV

I scream as you bite
My nipples, and orgasm
Drains my body, as if I
Had been cut in two.

XXV

Your tongue thrums and moves
Into me, and I become
Hollow and blaze with
Whirling light, like the inside
Of a vaste expanding pearl.

XXXII

I hold your head tight between
My thighs, and press against your
Mouth, and float away
Forever, in an orchid
Boat on the River of Heaven.

XXXIII

I cannot forget
The perfumed dusk inside the
Tent of my black hair,
As we awoke to make love
After a long night of love.

XXXIV

Every morning, I
Wake alone, dreaming my
Arm is your sweet flesh
Pressing my lips.

XXXVIII

I waited all night.
By midnight I was on fire.
In the dawn, hoping
To find a dream of you,
I laid my weary head
On my folded arms,
But the songs of the waking
Birds tormented me.

LI

Did you take me because you loved me?
Did you take me without love?
Or did you just take me
To experiment on my heart?

Kenneth Rexroth, The Love Poems of Marichiko, 1978

Kenneth Rexroth, 1905 – 1982


The Love Poems of Marichiko were originally published as if they had been written 
by a young Japanese woman and Rexroth had merely translated them. In reality there 
was no such person as Marichiko — the poems were all written by Rexroth himself, 
projecting himself into a feminine persona, during the same period that he was 
translating several volumes of Chinese and Japanese women poets.


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