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Kissing

  • They are kissing, on a park bench,
  • on the edge of an old bed, in a doorway
  • or on the floor of a church. Kissing
  • as the streets fill with balloons
  • or soldiers, locusts or confetti, water
  • or fire or dust. Kissing down through
  • the centuries under sun or stars, a dead tree,
  • an umbrella, amid derelicts. Kissing
  • as Christ carries his cross, as Gandhi
  • sings his speeches, as a bullet
  • careens through the air toward a child’s
  • good heart. They are kissing,
  • long, deep, spacious kisses, exploring
  • the silence of the tongue, the mute
  • rungs of the upper palate, hungry
  • for the living flesh. They are still
  • kissing when the cars crash and the bombs
  • drop, when the babies are born crying
  • into the white air, when Mozart bends
  • to his bowl of soup and Stalin
  • bends to his garden. They are kissing
  • to begin the world again. Nothing
  • can stop them. They kiss until their lips
  • swell, their thick tongues quickening
  • to the budded touch, licking up
  • the sweet juices. I want to believe
  • they are kissing to save the world,
  • but they’re not. All they know
  • is this press and need, these two-legged
  • beasts, their faces like roses crushed
  • together and opening, they are covering
  • their teeth, they are doing what they have to do
  • to survive the worst, they are sealing
  • the hard words in, they are dying
  • for our sins. In a broken world they are
  • practicing this simple and singular act
  • to perfection. They are holding
  • onto each other. They are kissing.

American poet Dorianne Laux teaches poetry for the Pacific University Low Residency Program and at North Carolina State University, where she is Poet-in-Residence. “Kissing” is from her collection What We Carry, published by BOA Editions, Ltd. © and is used with permission.

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The Copley family and the Nixons, Dr. Seuss, San Diego Magazine

Helen's turn at the throne, David's missteps, end of the Tribune, union trouble
  • They are kissing, on a park bench,
  • on the edge of an old bed, in a doorway
  • or on the floor of a church. Kissing
  • as the streets fill with balloons
  • or soldiers, locusts or confetti, water
  • or fire or dust. Kissing down through
  • the centuries under sun or stars, a dead tree,
  • an umbrella, amid derelicts. Kissing
  • as Christ carries his cross, as Gandhi
  • sings his speeches, as a bullet
  • careens through the air toward a child’s
  • good heart. They are kissing,
  • long, deep, spacious kisses, exploring
  • the silence of the tongue, the mute
  • rungs of the upper palate, hungry
  • for the living flesh. They are still
  • kissing when the cars crash and the bombs
  • drop, when the babies are born crying
  • into the white air, when Mozart bends
  • to his bowl of soup and Stalin
  • bends to his garden. They are kissing
  • to begin the world again. Nothing
  • can stop them. They kiss until their lips
  • swell, their thick tongues quickening
  • to the budded touch, licking up
  • the sweet juices. I want to believe
  • they are kissing to save the world,
  • but they’re not. All they know
  • is this press and need, these two-legged
  • beasts, their faces like roses crushed
  • together and opening, they are covering
  • their teeth, they are doing what they have to do
  • to survive the worst, they are sealing
  • the hard words in, they are dying
  • for our sins. In a broken world they are
  • practicing this simple and singular act
  • to perfection. They are holding
  • onto each other. They are kissing.

American poet Dorianne Laux teaches poetry for the Pacific University Low Residency Program and at North Carolina State University, where she is Poet-in-Residence. “Kissing” is from her collection What We Carry, published by BOA Editions, Ltd. © and is used with permission.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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