Sylvia Mae Gorelick’s Homage to George Whitman

TO GEORGE WHITMAN
like some placeless angel
I wandered over your threshold
and was caught--an animal
	without end
became the streets you couldn’t walk
you told me: Paris is free
and I dissolved into it
	some wild chance
the bells of Notre Dame invited us
	to write our way through the real
that breath of loss
we were innumerable
the forever you promised me--of life and the city
--our only secret
pushing self out of self
on the impossible edge of the Seine
where a science of loves
was forming itself
what past--that past?
we aren’t over, George
today the earth
	like a veil that falls
from Salomé’s sovereign hand
is hardly empty of you
--it’s your gift
	an overabundance of evening color
my body limbless and extended
out your window past Cité
I was infinite between languages
my sorrows were passions
I exceeded the museum
and the books
and had the papers for you
			daily
I was only world
because of you
	I rose out of your bathtub
like a sylph
	making way for night
and spilling over

in your little tower you absorbed
	the joy from all the
	busy masquerades and games
of comers and goers

the musics of all centuries
	converged in your company
you gleaned the girls of every era
	without shame
I think it was a singular ancient talk
		you filled me with
waking up with the unsaid
	taking her dance
not an instant lost on us
no end to the poem
	I wrote myself into--from you
time allows for us to disappear
	behind its back

you were more than
alive--outside living
beyond the congregation of
	statues at the cathedral
		garden
	and cannot have truly died
you sharp-eyed king
above all law
	generous wit
	collector of stray children
facts were never a great
	interest of yours
--the fact of life or being dead

I salute you
	in our common luck
of having for a birth
	--that sudden city
	14 Dec. 2011


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