Robert Lietz

I'll Be Home: A Flamingo Valentine

A Line

On 11/28/99, The Flamingos, at Soldiers and Sailors Hall, Pittsburgh. And after both our birthdays, the anniversaries of our first writing and first phone calls, The Flamingos again, on January 24th, the anniversary of our meeting face-to-face. 1/12--2/14/99

""The rains this afternoon, three days of rain,
leaving these muddy clumps and shivering waters
in low places, do in the New Year's ice, leaving
these lakes where once there had been parking lots
and fields, and -- looking like winter yet --
these farms with the snows gone, with weathers
the way they were almost two years ago tonight,
working toward weekend cold, with you as close
to me in coming snow and listening, with love
from the first as close as commonsense
and wishes!

""I think of the birthdays, calls, and e-mails
shared to start, of poetry forever changed, the book
I began without a chance or wish to finish, ourselves
in that moment shared, and so many ways ahead
of trying on experience, evolving in place names,
specs, the names of the wines and restaurants,
this blur of expressway rains I think of you
to see through, Liz/Elizabeth!

""There's Pittsburgh ahead for us, Flamingos ahead,
and meeting face-to-face in a plain language,
fitting the pieces --piece by piece -- just
as we've shared two years -- below the surface
and pieced levels -- shared centuries and more,
working the miles to less, the weekdays between
and measured distances to less.

""And when was it eloquence intended only to convince?

""Time was, maybe, and timelessness, and more,
refined in these oldest routes, these lessons in songs begun
when young men stood among themselves,
in places where snow-melt, roadsigns speak of hazards
and creek-waters, until I am with you now, and
even at midweek comforted, hearing this phone-mail's
scratchy joy, your pleasure in winter hues, pleased
by this note, by the least affections in its stillness,
with more in the song than style alone
would bring to purpose, more in the listening
than style alone delivers on.

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The 2River View, 3_4 (Summer 1999)