A Conversation with Frank Sinatra

I am talking here with Frank Sinatra.
He is talking through songs.
I am reliving all the wrongs.
I know he understands.
It was a game and I thought I made up the rules,
Long time ago, crying at night,
While in the next room
My parents fought the same battle
I’m fighting now.
And no one won
Because no one can.
It’s dug into my mind; I can’t help it.
She doesn’t understand but
You are my Christ, you bleed for me,
I kiss your stigmata and the blood is mine.
Her wet flesh cannot buy me,
My mind aches more than my body
For the fear of doing it her way hurts more than the thought of parting.
I need her, Lord,
To cross the Jordan alone
In the dark of night
Is the widest voyage of all,
For if she will not love me
Across the spreading light
Then sing me a song and let me cry.
I can explain it in reason if
Explain it I must but
I don’t want to explain:
I want it so, in childish impatience
And I refuse that it should not be so.
If you love me you will understand.
That is what love is:
To understand when there are no reasons.
I cannot stand on shifting rock and be chastised for it.
I can stand or I can be chastised
But not both.
There were nights my body twisted
(long ago between dark blue walls in an old Brownstone in stinking Brooklyn—
The smell of gutters in summer
And some rummy pissing in the alley)
When your guts jump out of your throat
Every time someone yells
Or throws a pot
Or curses
Or insinuates
Or challenges—
You can’t erase the feeling
(never erase it)
Blasting out of your belly til you cannot sleep any more
Soaking your sheets, shirt pasted cold and dripping to your chest
And the milk truck rattles through the dawn and you crawl out of bed without sleeping.
Won’t spend another night waiting
To hear
What will be said,
And me to smooth it over
Bridging broad chasms between word and world.
Nerve endings don’t heal, they burn over memories you cannot suppress.
She does not understand
That I am a child of pain.
I fear it more than not having her.
Out walking at dawn
And the first dumb bird presages more blind sunshine
To blur years of anger,
Acres of fatigue,
Miles of not caring or caring too much.
Sing them the truth if you will; tell them for me:
Today is like yesterday only it hurts more
Because there is one more scar.
I will walk down by the river and,
If no one can see me
I will cry a little
And sit on a bench and feel sorry for myself.