Letter to Pablo Neruda

Señor Neruda,
or may I call you Pablo?

I’ve read your poetry
and many questions come to mind.

I loved every line in
Forgive me Pablo,
my Spanish is very poor.

But I really want to ask about the women:
the lovers, the wives, those nameless whores
on the back streets of Santiago.

Others might also inquire
of your friendship with Lorca,
question his influence on you, yours on him,
the way stars and planets pull at each other.

But Pablo, it’s really the women
that draw me in, like an ocean
unable to escape the moon’s magnetism.

Yet in truth we both know,
you cannot separate women and poetry.
Are they not the same?

When you catch a glimpse of azure sky,
do you not think of a woman’s eyes?
When you touch a woman’s body,
do you not believe there is a God?

And when you are with that woman,
do the words not come easier?
Words of ribbons and hair,
silk sheets and near silent sighs.
Naked phrases offered in praise
and seduction.

And with this done, do we then know
who we are? Was it such a moment
when you wrote,

…and it follows that I am, because of you.

God, I wish I had written that line.
But people who do not chase words
will not understand: only with poetry
can you drink the sky from cupped hands,
taste the clouds, sweet as a woman’s lips.

Pardon me Pablo for presuming to tell you
about poetry. But I too put pen to paper,
offer it to the world, to be consumed
or thrown out with tomorrow’s trash.

So Pablo, mi amigo,
tell me about the women. Clifton King