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Our Hearts Burned Within Us

By Sam Ambler

Sometimes love comes raining down a torrential cloudburst,

refreshing the heat of a day's wildflowers—

its small, thirsty creatures;

and sometimes love howls like a jackass or hyena

who brays and bays at the solitude foreshadowed in the moon's full face—

her cold, silver stare teasing stars

and threatening the unbounded ego of jackass, hyena, man;

and sometimes love is sweetly gay

like the sounds of laughter and girly smiles in a boy's voice

invading the Spring air (May's tender mornings);

and sometimes love is silent,

hiding from the eye in green meadows

being in its silence alive

in the arcades of teeming bougainvillea in the heart—

the ecstatic red of fiery passion that does not burn or bleed;

and sometimes love is brassy and brazen and bold

like a whore discovering God;

and sometimes love is not there and I am alone.

And when love is not there, in these sometimes and one-times

and missing-person agony times,

I close my eyes—because love is not to be seen;

I close my ears—because love is not to be heard;

I close my hands into fists—because love will not be touched;

and I let go of my strength and mobility—

I kneel or fall or crumple; (it is impossible to know which);

remaining silent in the arbors of my heart

(neither do I hide in its shadows)—

and I wait in the void, paused at the darkness, poised in simplicity

and there discover love does not die, nor can it be killed;

and there in the depths of nothingness

on the borders of the shearing white light,

love and I are one: neither will I die or be destroyed;

and from there I return to love anew.


Sam Ambler’s writing has been published in Christopher Street, The James White Review, City Lights Review Number 2, Nixes Mate Review, and Visitant, among others. He won the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s 6th Annual Poetry Contest.

He earned a BA in English, specializing in creative writing of poetry, from Stanford University. He delivered singing telegrams and sang with the Temescal Gay Men’s Chorus in Berkeley and the Pacific Chamber Singers in San Francisco. He has worked in nonprofit theater at Berkeley Rep, Geffen Playhouse, Actors’ Equity, and The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Now retired, he lives in California with his husband, visual artist Edward L. Rubin.


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