David Adès

Searching for the Unified Theory of You

Seduced by beauty, outward appearance,
I fall to your body’s lure,

try to find you in lovemaking,
try to find you in desire,

in limbs’ urgent undertakings.
You understand my flaws,

my body’s need, how easily
I can be deflected

from the constant search,
if only for a time.

I go back to the puzzle, try again
to find the elegant equation

that will illuminate every hidden thing,
peering through microscopes

in one failed experiment after another,
finding feints and firewalls,

fading footprints, deliberate
decoys, static and murk,

all grist to incomprehension.
I push up against barriers,

against the elusive unknowable,
with theories and hypotheses

small comfort, no bulwark
against the frustration of failure,

knowing you will resist me always,
with beauty your ally.

Still Searching for the Unified Theory of You

Still searching
              the unified theory
                     of you
              I brushed
       your lips
with mine
       tried that clichéd equation
              placed my pulsing heart in your hands
                     studied the lovely sky of your face
              its winds its storms
       its ever-changing
unknowable world
       still searching for the
              unified theory of you
                     my lips brushed yours
              an incomplete equation
       you held my pulsing heart
in your hands
       the weather of your lovely face
              full of winds full of storms
                     an always changing
              unreachable world
       still searching for
the unified
       theory of you
              our lips brushed
                     the equation almost
              your hands held
       my pulsing heart
your stormy face so lovely
       your windy sky
              ever-changing unknowable
                     unreachable still

Perhaps I Was Mistaken Again

Perhaps I was mistaken again
in thinking something was other than it was,
the way a heart is prone to name as love

what is not love at all, the way shadows
seem to take on shapes the mind imagines.
In giving something a name, sometimes

we name not what it is but what our
temperaments incline towards
and then, once named, fix it in place

whether it belongs or not.
Is it obduracy or blindness
that constitutes our failure to see

the true nature of a thing?
Today, as my listing heart,
buffeted by waves, glimpsed

the dark sky above, so distant
it might vanish altogether,
I saw from a distance a woman

who brought me into her fold,
who made me feel welcome,
who came as a blessing,

whom I named as friend.
My attention turned elsewhere
and when I looked again

she had vanished, as the thing
I named friendship had vanished,
without warning and for no known

reason, by retreat and absence,
as if some mysterious weave
of lives linking us had unraveled

of its own accord leaving behind
the shadow of friendship
or whatever else the mind imagined

that was not what it was thought to be
but was sadly misnamed
and I, perhaps, was mistaken again.

David Adès is a Pushcart Prize nominated Australian poet currently living in Pittsburgh. He has been a member of Friendly Street Poets since 1979. His collection Mapping the World (Wakefield Press / Friendly Street Poets) was commended for the Anne Elder Award 2008. A chapbook, Only the Questions Are Eternal (Garron Publishing), was published in 2015. His poems have been widely published in Australia and the U.S. In 2014 he won the inaugural University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize.
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