Saturday, January 07, 2012

I Vow to Thee
for M.L.R.

you mean even if she lets me down

is this what you meant
when you insisted, implored me to-

how did you put it-
stand beside her
stand up for her

did you mean even if she let me down
or lets me down or lets me drop
as she has

longing, waiting, wondering
will she pick me up again

you mean that I should stand by her
stick by her, stand up for her
no matter what

stand by her, stand for her
even if she is against me
even if she is not for me
I must be for her

brave for her, there for her,
here for her

even if I´ve been thrown out
shut out, shoved out

I must, since I´ve taken her in
keep her in
even without reciprocity

one-sided affair, going about
upon one leg
stand up for her upon one leg

I wept just now to think of this
of words you said-
of this stipulation
on behalf of who was then
my wife to be
who was then to be my wife

not the first time that I have cried
recalling- bringing back to mind
your standing in on her behalf

I had been- have been-
thought I was being

true to this commitment
you invited, insisted upon

just did not realize
that I was being called
to stand up for Maya,
to stand with her

even if she turned against me
even if
the winds of our romance

this is a test
don´t know if even you meant
that I should be loyal still

loyal after what we were
or what I thought we were
was over

is this another phase
within our affair

certainly and fortunately
it is another phase
within my life

within her life

fortunately life does go on
life goes on in Mexico City

what of that affair though, our affair
where is it now- what is it now

what are we now
where are we now

what you whispered to me, in English
aside Maya possibly, still,
knows nothing of:

stand by her,
she is very important to us
as a poet, as a teacher,
as a mother, as a daughter
as as sister, as a friend

was like our marriage vows
exchanged, there on that sidewalk

in that neighbourhood
I miss and cherish
cherish and miss

not at all far from her front door
the bars across which, I had keys to
bunch of three she had cut for me

we were beginning to love each other
love between us
was beginning to deepen

adjustments to be made,
we were beginning to face
to confront, to contemplate

her spirit or mine, recalcitrant
stubborn, unwilling to budge
unwilling to move this way or that,
an inch or two

amazing that this call, it seems,
still stands, to stand by her

by whatever commitment it was
that we, at that point, had made

it was a rock
upon which we stood that day

it was solid indeed
it was love indeed
it was truth indeed

it´s me, it´s me, oh, Lord
we, oh, we, oh, Lord
standing in the need of prayer

me, oh, me, oh, Lord
in need of prayer
in the deed of prayer

romance by itself,
fickle, flimsy

needing the undergurding
of Agape to give it substance,
weight, import

to sustain it, to enable it
to sustain us, to bear us up

to hold together what is shifting
what is split, what needs,
miraculously, to be mended

like soles of shoes
holes through leather
needing to be fixed
needing to be placed
in a cobbler´s hands

what did I promise:

to stand by, sit by,
walk beside, run beside
lie beside, die beside her

these vows- these pledges
made in the church
that is all the world

in the church
that is without walls

in the church
that is creation
occurring again

we like the first two people
like that first couple
occurring again
created again

how naked she has left me
we were clothed in our love
in that alone

what is she wearing
without me- away from me

what web or world
is she whirling around in
is she being whirled around in

here I am, my axis is the ball point
of this Bick pen

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2012
11:54 p.m. 06.01.12


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