The unusual suggestion:
Elaborate for me the details of your day
as if I were a stenographer
and this bedroom our well-appointed courtroom.
Allow me to luxuriate
in the chamomile you brewed at noon
and the lemon rind you tossed in
for good measure —
bright and healthy, floating.
Or the dishes that you doused with soap!
Indulge me to enumerate
the scalloped edges of our plates,
the contour of a teacup handle.
The confines of this house
will be for me a theater,
your routine of teeth-brushing
that earlier had flickered behind your eyes
I now promise to extinguish
and remind you that you do have lungs.
Permit me to enter
the kingdom of your hipbone
and gently press upon
the northern territory of your thigh
an offering of wildflowers.
In paths untrodden,
In the growth by margins of pond-waters,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
From all the standards hitherto publish’d, from the pleasures,
Which too long I was offering to feed my soul,
Clear to me now standards not yet publish’d, clear to me that my soul,
That the soul of the man I speak for rejoices in comrades,
Here by myself away from the clank of the world,
Tallying and talk’d to here by tongues aromatic,
No longer abash’d, (for in this secluded spot I can respond as I
would not dare elsewhere,)
Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet contains
all the rest,
Resolv’d to sing no songs to-day but those of manly attachment,
Projecting them along that substantial life,
Bequeathing hence types of athletic love,
Afternoon this delicious Ninth-month in my forty-first year,
I proceed for all who are or have been young men,
To tell the secret my nights and days,
To celebrate the need of comrades.