Eros Is Eros Is Eros

Steve Kronen Click to

5Steve Kronen’s Splendor appeared from BOA in 2006.  His poetry has appeared in The New RepublicThe American ScholarPoetryAgniAPRThe Georgia ReviewPloughsharesThe Yale ReviewThe Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. He has been a fellow at Bread Loaf, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, received an NEA, two Florida Arts Council grants, and the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His first book, Empirical Evidence, won the Contemporary Poetry Series prize and was published by the University of Georgia Press in 1992.

An olive hue, too, says my wife. Close to sleep
we’ve sailed, adrift and determined
as Bligh himself, from Bounty to Christian

to Gauguin’s self-possessed women. Stars and moon
and then a comet beyond our window, and I’m off
on Haley’s (long A when I was a boy) breasting

the planets’ cross-currents, swimming past Earth
in 76-year circuits as on the birth and death of
Mark Twain, a man who made his name a pun

and plumbed the depths of human folly, returning
(the comet), a ball of ice and wedding-gown train
of dust – pronounced, strangely now

in my middle age, to rhyme, short A, with valley
– like Rudy? she mumbles back to me, who sang
charming songs of love? or where we shall walk through,

fearing – should, like a silk hankie, our prayers touch lightly
the brow of a pleased God – no evil? His songs (Vallee’s)
were proclaimed through the large end of a cone

and my mind narrows to Roy Cohn, a small
unhappy man, who’d made his name upon
plucking from men and women – he loved

men and was angry – their own good names. But yes,
a cone, a megaphone, making Vallee’s voice larger, bolder,
just as a microscope once made, hidden from the eyes of men

and women, the tiny comets of protoplasm and spermatozoa
grow large beneath the eyes, I tell her, of Anton van Leeuwenhoek,
cloth merchant, who ground lenses to inspect the woof and warp

of his bolts (yards of lush embroidered fabric,
not fire from an angry sky) adjusting left and right
the glasses of his meticulous machine to observe

the busy lives of mites and cells in the Delft
of 1670, the lens, beveled all around and lentil shaped
from which its name was lent and … Forty days

of forsaken pleasures? or, like Polonius,
that which should neither be borrowed nor….
Poor Polonius, a parent, like ourselves, given to giving

parental advice, even if poorly, that his children’s poor choices
may not one day come crashing fierily about their shoulders
or, bacteria-like, wheedle invisibly beneath the skin

to blossom on the forehead in fever. Polonius
in unhappy Elsinore could not ascribe such heartache
to microbes, their troubles – fathers and children –

came large – stabbed and poisoned and, when ground between
a thoughtless boyfriend and thoughtless father,
drowned. They fuck you up your mum and dad, your kids,

your equivocating sweetheart who, finally, at Elsinore,
was himself Xed out like girlfriend and mother who possessed
the two XXes that attach men to women, winsome Ophelia

longing all the while for something beyond
her reach, unable to attach her suspecting suitor
to herself with a lust sufficient by the 20th century

to warrant three bold marquee XXXes and which blossoms freely
in the bonobo, our near genetic twins, separated princes
and paupers, who tap out on their computers

simple picture-sentences: “I am hungry.”
“Where is my toy?” when not engaged in exuberant,
dyad, triad, and group monkey sex (don’t, she says,

get any ideas) and who, given enough typewriters,
might, fingers rough on the keyboard buttons,
sign their letters with four sincere XXXXes

to convey simply, wondrously, their heart’s
most wild affection for girlfriend and beau
…from which Cupid shoots his Eros? Straight

through our excess? our cupidity? hitting the mark
marking the spot, finding the there there
we’d always hoped was there, making it glow brighter

than Haley’s, than Halley’s, no larger than an apple
in the outstretched palm of our brightest angel who,
longing for something beyond his reach, fell past stars

and planets to land here, on ours, having had a Word
with an ex who turned His broad back everywhere
and all at once as if even He

could call the whole thing off.