Verse > Anthologies > Alfred Kreymborg, ed. > Others for 1919
Alfred Kreymborg, ed.  Others for 1919.  1920.
The Apprentice
By Emanuel Carnevali

JUST as the passing wind
catches the word of the glittering leaves,
I’d make your curled lips tingle
with a swift kiss—should you let me.
Instead,        5
you see me bent and doubled up
by silence
in silence
and my words are harsh,
sounds of a body that breaks.        10
You turn your wide eyes,
ever bewildered,
bewildered as the sun when it glances
its first glance on the lake, at dawn,
you see all things with newness,        15
you see all,
all but my love.
Well, that’s how it goes, eh, Annie?
All but my clumsy, self-accursed love
under my bent and folded        20
body awe-full of raptures,
awe-full of the tree-tops and leaves skipping, snapping
under those clouds,—
clouds that the moon is kissing        25
over my silent head.
That’s how things go and that’s
precisely how things should go—
that’s how the wind presses our cheeks a moment
and slips        30
behind us away, it’s how
it stretches a ribbon over our eyelids
and pulls it from behind, it’s my heels pounding the side-walk;
it’s how things go, the way
they happen,        35
the morning, the evening and night—
how they come and they go and are going
and linger,
it’s love that comes and love
that does not come.        40
I’ll say no hands
will know your hands as mine do,
your hands that are soft as the grass is.
But there’s no answer coming
to me, so        45
don’t worry, Annie.
Don’t worry, wide round eyes.
Do turn around and
around, wide round eyes,
and soft slender hands do whisper        50
of easy happiness and of a young
and you, dear child, do say,
do say and repeat,
do repeat most vigorously        55
that you don’t love me.
I have today again uncovered the sky and have found it
ever so cool and ever so new, under.
I wait for no answer, and no thing
to ask, and no thing        60
to say, besides what you know and I know
and that which
to the end of days
will have one and an only
meaning        65
and no meaning
and all meanings and

You think you can leave the matter to your lips
and they don’t work right
and then
it’s two deadmen shaking hands
saying “Howdydo Sir?”

Come on, don’t be afraid you’ll spoil me
if you light the gas in your room
and show me
that you have heard my cries.
Are you so poor in kisses
that you’re so stingy with them;        80
and is your heart so ravaged
that you won’t let me pick there
one or two flowers?…
Oh, never mind what I’ll do with them!
I’m going to teach you yet        85
what rapture is.
I play my serenade
beating my clenched fist
on a gong and a drum.
What I want is to give you        90
the sound of what a man is.
I love my eyes and lips
better than yours;
besides, the dampness of the night
pierces my shoes.        95
I can be as capricious
as you can be, don’t worry!
Come on, open that window
or I’ll go home.

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