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REXROTH, Kenneth

Confusion of the Senses

Moonlight fills the laurels

Like music. The moonlit

Air does not move. Your white

Face moves towards my face.

Voluptuous sorrow

Holds us like a cobweb

Like a song, a perfume, the moonlight.

Your hair falls and holds our faces.

Your lips curl into mine.

Your tongue enters my mouth.

A bat flies through the moonlight.

The moonlight fills your eyes

They have neither iris nor pupil

They are only globes of cold fire

Like the deers' eyes that go by us

Through the empty forest.

Your slender body quivers

And smells of seaweed.

We lie together listening

To each other breathing in the moonlight.

Do you hear? We are breathing. We are alive.


There are sparkles of rain on the bright

Hair over your forehead;

Your eyes are wet and your lips

Wet and cold, your cheek rigid with cold.

Why have you stayed

Away so long, why have you only

Come to me late at night

After walking for hours in wind and rain?

Take off your dress and stockings;

Sit in the deep chair before the fire.

I will warm your feet in my hands;

I will warm your breasts and thighs with kisses.

I wish I could build a fire

In you that would never go out.

I wish I could be sure that deep in you

Was a magnet to draw you always home.

Lyell’s Hypothesis again


Naked in the warm April air,

We lie under the redwoods,

In the sunny lee of a cliff.

As you kneel above me I see

Tiny red marks on your flanks

Like bites, where the redwood cones

Have pressed into your flesh.

You can find just the same marks

In the lignite in the cliff

Over our heads. Sequoia

Langsdorfii before the ice,

And sempervirens afterwards,

There is little difference,

Except for all those years.


I don’t mind the human race.

I’ve got pretty used to them

In these past twenty-five years.

I don’t mind if they sit next

To me on streetcars, or eat

In the same restaurants, if

It’s not at the same table.

However, I don’t approve

Of a woman I respect

Dancing with one of them. I’ve

Tried asking them to my home

Without success. I shouldn’t

Care to see my own sister

Marry one. Even if she

Loved him, think of the children.

Their art is interesting,

But certainly barbarous.

I’m sure, if given a chance,

They’d kill us all in our beds.

And you must admit, they smell.