I want to love, freely,
and to be loved, fully.
I do not want to buried alive, suffocated,
relegated by cattle car to a work camp
because we waited too long.
Heartbroken in stripes of barbwire,
complaining to a single louse
of our secret unendorsed affair
while you entertain grand possibilities
I do not want to be hidden in a dirty attic ―
conditioned to flinch
at the sound of boots on brick,
a barking dog, screeching brakes,
gunshots, or broken glass.
I want to be understood, admired,
read and reread, thought upon, by you!
Not unequal but equal, your equal.
Not pitied beneath your shoe.
Asked what I meant, what I mean,
or my opinion of things, the universe.
Not of piano keys or songs I never wrote.
Our lessons, only.
Of God. Of dreams.
To live in the light. To not have
rationed nights because you worry
they will know.
Not to be beleaguered in their drab grayness,
their black skulls, their bloody fists, their murders.
To play all the keys with fresh daffodils in a vase
on your father’s piano and the sunlight
of an open shade upon your face.
I want to be moral, share morals,
despite the regime. Despite their fascism.
The past razed not consecrated.
Not condemned or abandoned, raised!
Exalted and praised, not vilified or shamed.
I want compassion and love,
dreams and dedication. Your naked soul
on mine without white gloves
and the excuse of your lesson. A full bottle of wine.
Your culture. Your hobby. Your time.
I want good mornings and good nights.
No more good afternoons.
A lifetime. I want a lifetime! Enough to hear
you play the entire concerto with
the orchestra of your soul.
I want to kill him with my hands, or
you to drop the rat death upon him.
To procure us tickets to unoccupied Spain,
dressed as migrants, us both in black suits.
Red roses pinned on our lapels.
I want to be spoken, not your secret Jew
without photographs because they might see.
They, they, they! Declare me!
Love is neither ever on holiday
from itself or in itself a vacuum.
Do you want my love or their admiration?
Both do not exist in our Germany.
I want to be the island. The vacation. The train.
And all of Spain in your eyes.
I want to be valued. Not told to wait. Not instructed to sit.
Not dependent upon a mood, a fear, or the outcome of war.
Not passed upon or put upon.
I want to be missed when I’m gone,
sick in love, not worry.
Noticed not flouted.
I do not want to linger any longer.
Lost then found. Found then lost.
To wear their star, their shame.
To be slurred by your family and your
ethical friends that fuck for class.
To be chaperoned.
I want coffee and cake
in a café in Paris on the Champs-Élysées
when it is not the rat’s Paris.
When it again belongs to love and light.
I want your sobriety, not the excuse
of being drunk, a mistake
buried in your luggage ―
because you were lonely or stressed.
Passion! I want you to understand.
I want your passion! I want a clean kiss
not a dirty apology. Not cigarettes.
No more sorrow! Or war. Or excuses!
I want hellos that are life, breath, blood,
and goodbyes that are not death,
when each is not likely our last.
I am not a secret to be kept in
a closet. On a satin coat hanger.
Never worn but for when no one is looking.
Played upon, but for when no one can hear
then put away again with the lesson —
my letters in a cigar box with a false bottom.
I want to be a declaration,
not a whisper. To be you as you are to me.
To fill and be fulfilled.
I want to walk out of this dank room
and proclaim my love for you. Share a ring.
A child. A dirty Jew child. And father yours
so they are not hate machines.
Declare it in some manner!
Play for them our Danse Macabre,
mimicking the violin with your nimble fingers.
Or I shall depart from you at midnight for a new life.
A lone migrant to Spain on pawned loans
without the fear of jackboots,
goose-stepping waltzes, and your tepidness.
You will have your piano and
I will have a red rose on my lapel
with no star or burden to demarcate me.