Denise R. Weuve

Ink Damage and Other Permanent Stains

Day 10 ~ Suzanne Lummis

SL
This Sunday, LA is honoring two powerhouse forces in poetry. The first I am spotlighting is Suzanne Lummis. This woman is indeed a fabulous poet, but she is also a teacher, editor, performer, historian, and an inspiration. To inspire is to breathe life into and there is proof that she does this, not just through the many students she has taught via UCLA extension courses and her workshops but her very words.   What Ms. Lummis does for poetry in Los Angeles is far reaching and celebrates the city’s history. There is an interview on NPR with Suzanne conducted by Jacki Lyden that you must listen to, the interview covers Suzanne in the city of angels, from her mugging to her love of the L.A. River.  She loves this city, and she celebrates her with the poetry of the noir.

 

Suzanne has been a staple in the L.A. Poetry scene for over 30 years, recently releasing her book Open 24 Hours that won the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize (2103). The Wide Awake: Poetry of Los Angels and Beyond had the great fortune of having her as an editor. But I first saw her work in a very used copy of Stand Up Poetry that she co-edited with Charles Harper Webb. In this anthology she showed us all that humor is possible in poetry as is with and mastery of the word. I always sold my books back to the bookstore, always, I was poor. I didn’t give that book back, and I still have it in my bookshelf nearly 20 years later. (Side note, I reread the whole anthology before writing this, and confirmed it will go nowhere). The New Yorker featured poems from Suzanne about six months ago, and you can hear the poem here.

 

There is no wonder that this Sunday Suzanne is receiving Beyond Baroque’s

George Drury Smith Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award and Distinguished Service Award. And she epitomized both outstanding achievement and distinguished Service. A wise choice by Beyond Baroque, and you can see her win this award by purchasing tickets.

 

If you haven’t the time to make it to the award ceremony, but find Saturday night open, Suzanne will be reading her work (with her co-recipient, Elena Karina Byrne) at Beyond Baroque and you can be there to hear it. Check out all the information here.  Hope to see you at one or both of these events as we celebrate Suzanne Lummis

 

The Perfect Man
         By Suzanne Lummis

     For the men who’ve asked me,
      “Why isn’t there a perfect man
      in any of your plays?” 

.                 He’s lonely.
There is only one of him.
He’s like the last-of-its-kind
someone captured
and shipped back to the zoo.
.                  Except he
has never been captured, only
by the mirror which captures
his image, speaks
the same reassurance:
you are the fairest…
He sighs and straightness his tie.
It’s terrible being a myth.
Why can’t he do goofy
ordinary things —
cruise down boulevards,
be in a play?
.                  He turns
and moves through his rooms,
their identical
fields of light, their curious
absence of shadow.

Why can we not find him?
.                  Late,
very late, when the women
of this earth lie asleep,
he sighs, then packs up his costumes:
the formal wear, leather jacket,
the ski gear of a down-hill racer…
You see?
He’s obliged to break into our dreams.
Now he will begin his long run,
through cities and provinces, from
sleek condominiums to the Highway’s
last chance hotels.
It’s a delicate task
getting in.
If we wake we might catch
the tapping of his small
silvery hammer, its ping
ping…
We might think we hear
for a moment,. just
as it vanishes, the sledge
of some convict, some far away
prisoner, crazy to get out.

 

From Caffeine Destiny

 

 

Suzanne Reading Femme Fatale (from youtube.com)

 

Day 9 ~ Brendan Constantine

Brendan ConstantineWell it had to happen, and so it has, today I spotlight the uber talented Brendan Constantine.  If you have not seen him perform/read his work and you had the chance to, you have cheated yourself out of an experience you will not forget. Outside of being an absolutely great feature if you have your own reading you host, Brendan is a teacher. He teaches children, he does workshops at CAFAM (Craft and Folk Art Museum) and he volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Project. My mother has Alzheimer and I often fear this will be my final outcome, and I certainly wish there was a Brendan in my mother’s life earlier. Someone who would help her get out all she had to get out through writing, and feel creative and powerful again. This is what I truly love about Brendan he does that for people. He makes them feel powerful through words whether they are a 10 year old or 80 year old. He brings joy with words. When Brendan submitted his work to Wherewithal, a magazine I co-founded I felt honored that he even knew we existed.

I have gushed over this man enough, just let me say Brendan tours (those of you in the Los Angeles area have about a million opportunities to see him this month, New Your you only have Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival) and when he does catch him, please, it’s for your own good. Until that time, buy Letters to Guns, and then you can also pick up his other two books once you fall in love with his words.

 

First let me show you Brendan doing his thing so that you want to run out and see him.  This video is from youtube, where you can find many more.

 

And here is a poem that I was so grateful to him for allowing us to feature on Wherewithal Magazine.

 

Phototaxis

Whatever gets between us and the sky
becomes the sky / It’s how we start to
wish on the flicker in a smoke alarm /
how sometimes the bed seems hidden
under moss / We sit long after the lamps
go down / The park so dark / the moths
dive at our phones / It makes sense to
laugh down the street / The street waits
its turn / then rolls out its black receipt
for things we don’t remember / We
can’t read the numbers / What we owe
is somewhere behind those trees in
the wallpaper / or way the other way

Day 8 ~ Mary Szybist

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 12.23.31 AMI read Mary Szybist‘s  Incarnadine, for a class in my MFA program. An assignment I do not recall, but the book I do. I was maddeningly in love with what Mary Szybist did with holy Mary and the crossing and the separating of herself and the holy mother in that book. I went to catholic school, was raised in the church so I found automatic familiarity with her work. But what I marvel about was how she did not forget the work behind the poetry. Her notes are extensive and I imagine her research was volumes of material that never even made it into the book.

For those of you going to AWP she will be part of the festivities. Get to her reading, and get to her panel. How do you miss the 2013 National Book Award Winner? Here’s a little information on those:

Saturday, April 11
AWP Conference Events in Minneapolis, MN
9:00 am: Panel on Charles Wright at 80: A Celebration of Poetry and Teaching:
Auditorium Room, Level 1
4:30 pm: Reading and Conversation with Linda Hogan and Eric Pankey:
Main Auditorium, Level 1

If you aren’t going, like my poor hiney here are a couple of poems to make you even sadder

 

Hail

Mary who mattered to me, gone or asleep
among fruits, spilled

in ash, in dust, I did not

leave you. Even now I can’t keep from
composing you, limbs & blue cloak

& soft hands. I sleep to the sound

of your name, I say there is no Mary
except the word Mary, no trace

on the dust of my pillowslip. I only

dream of your ankles brushed by dark violets,
of honeybees above you

murmuring into a crown. Antique queen,

the night dreams on: here are the pears
I have washed for you, here the heavy-winged doves,

asleep by the hyacinths. Here I am,

having bathed carefully in the syllables
of your name, in the air and the sea of them, the sharp scent

of their sea foam. What is the matter with me?

Mary, what word, what dust
can I look behind? I carried you a long way

into my mirror, believing you would carry me

back out. Mary, I am still
for you, I am still a numbness for you.

Source: Poetry (November 2008).

 

 

Apology

I didn’t mean to say so much to you.
I should have thought to let the evening end
by looking at the stars subdued

into their antique blue and alabaster hues.
Such looking would have fit with my intent.
I didn’t mean to speak that way to you.

If I could take it back, I’d take it, undo
it, and replace it with the things I meant
to give—not what I let slip (it’s true)

like any pristine star of ornamental hue.
I do not always do what I intend.
I didn’t mean to say so much to you.

It slipped before I saw, before I knew.
Or do we always do what we intend?
Perhaps it’s true and all along I knew

what I was saying—but how I wanted you.
I should have thought to let the evening end.
The placid stars seemed filled and then subdued
by what I did and did not want to do.

From the book Granted

Found on PBS.org 

Day 7 ~ LeAnne Hunt

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 8.02.37 AMLeAnne Hunt is my friend, and like many of my friends she is also a poet. I met LeAnne at The Ugly Mug readings in Orange, CA. (where I have met a lot of people I really like). She is a scientist (and works in lab coat and everything), a mother, a friend, and a damn good writer. She can often be found at Long Beach’s Poetry Lab, and this week will be found in Minneapolis hanging out with all your lucky folks heading to AWP. Should you be lucky enough to see her there, make friends, she has a great laugh that will always make you feel better, and if you are lucky she will show you some of her poems, but until then here are a couple of poems by the lovely LeAnne.

 

***This first poem appeared on Cadence Collective in 2014:

“Children are vampires,” my friend said.
After the park… the fair… the festival… the zoo… the circus…
the pool party… the playdates…and the birthday parties,
we sprawl in our chairs, like wilted prom corsages
three days after the deflowering and no phone call.
Our daughters whip around us like kites in hurricanes.

I cannot agree.

Children suck the marrow from bones, leach the color from hair,
bleach the skin and drain the life force at its source.
Vampires take only your blood, drink it down and stop;
children take your life and carry it forth.
All of your sins, half of your traits and three-fourths of your gestures
passed on like a virus replicating beyond control.
Vampires are kinder; they provide an end stop to your line.
Children run on and on.

 

***Last year for National Poetry Writing Month, LeAnne let me use this Pantoum on my website for the daily prompts, and now it is here because anyone that can write a form poem well, has my awe.

Letting Go of Stones

I am an empty bag, full of wind and crinkle.
I rattled at each pull until you broke through thin skin.
I learned to twist in your words.
I flung myself off a cliff to float. I held blue.
I gave you two children as promised.

I rattled at each pull until you broke through thin skin.
I learned to twist in your words.
You could not catch my inhaled breath.
I gave you two children as promised.
Wind carries ash the same as it does hope.

You could not catch inhaled my breath.
I flung myself off a cliff to float. I held blue.
Wind carries ash the same as it does hope.
I am an empty bag, full of wind and crinkle.

Day 6 ~ Diane Wakoski

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 9.37.12 AMAnyone who writes a poem entitle, “Dancing on the Grave of a Son-of-a-Bitch” deserves our attention and she wrote that and like poems in her book the The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems, (1971).  But then as years would turn Diane Wakoski wrote more books than I have years, and I found Medea the Sorceress and Jason the Sailor (1991 an 1993 respectfully), which called out to me because of my maddening love of myth, but they are so much deeper than an exploration of myth as we have seen them before.  Not only does she use myth in these books but in writing these poems she creates a myth of her own life.  Most Recently, Diane Wakoski has release Bay of Angels (2013) and this time her base to build these poems are movies and TV.  For those of you that loved Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there’s a poem called “Spike, Not Angel: Imagining Another Spinoff from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and even gives the pilot episode it’s own title “Vampire Ballerina”.  It’s like she has been reading my mind before I was ever born.

I would also like to point out she is a nice lady.  I brought 2 of her books (out of the shelf of books I seem to have of hers) and she signed those and Bay of Angels for me.  And she chatted me up about poker, apparently a new passion of hers, and a game my grandma taught me at 4.  Poets are regular people, folks.  They watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and play poker, that’s what DIane Wakoski taught me.

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Instead of me picking my favorite poems from Diane (which is nearly impossible), I am showing you  a video that Diane has on her own website and I quote from her site “I am always interested in wonderful video interpretations of my poems. Below are some of my favorites. If you create a video using one of my poems, please be sure to send along the link.”  So if you have created a video send it her way.

And now a poem from Diane’s website, that appears in Bay of Angels, and sings to my love of mythology in contemporary situations.

Persephone Steps Off the Elevator
At the 4th Floor

and emerges again onto the adobe walled landing,
the Southern California horizon wide as an avalanche
exposing parrot-wing cerulean, and cobalt
streaking into the molten crown of evening’s still golden
approach.

Returning to light,
even twilight, makes her shadow gasp with
recognition. Here on the 4th floor she seems still
long-haired and trusting, the speckled-blue egg of her
gaze is open to any invitation, as it was before
she became the Queen of Night,
pomegranate-smeared
and cruel.

If only she had not returned,
ascended to this balcony that obscures the long
corridor, on the walls of which hang photos
showing a girl
holding a blue flower; if
only she didn’t have to look
at the radiant sky, its
beauty reminding her of everything she’s either
lost or never had.

In the moment of stepping into light
she does not know,
for the first time,
if beauty is,
or ever can be
enough.

from http://dwakoski.com

Day 5 ~ Lord Byron

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 4.39.52 PM“She walks in beauty like the night” was read in a British Literature class and I fell in love with poetry, and the handsome poet that was the writer, George Gordon or as he is better known, Lord Byron. The bad boy of the romantics made me fall in love like many other bad boys would do in the future. Yet this bad boy made me love poetry. So in the end he is also to blame for the fact I write poetry. He can be blamed for the horrible poetry I wrote, and at times the horrible poetry I still write.

I went into college writing like a D Class Romantic Era poet, and slowly had the Lord Byron sifted out of me, but he does remain with me in my heart. As romantic as he was, he wrote the beautiful satirical Don Juan, where the aforementioned character is not quite the womanizer history portrays, but instead a man who falls easily under prey to women.

 

She Walks in Beauty

BY LORD BYRON (GEORGE GORDON)

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

A very trippy and oddly beautiful performance of “She Walks in Beauty”

 

Don Juan: Dedication

BY LORD BYRON (GEORGE GORDON)

Difficile est proprie communia dicere 
HOR. Epist. ad Pison

I

Bob Southey! You’re a poet—Poet-laureate,
And representative of all the race;
Although ’tis true that you turn’d out a Tory at
Last—yours has lately been a common case;
And now, my Epic Renegade! what are ye at?
With all the Lakers, in and out of place?
A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye
Like “four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye;

This is my favorite book of Lord Byron’s, which happens to be a collection of his letters and journals. Byron’s Letters and Journals

 

Day 4~Nick Cave

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 3.24.29 PMToday’s poet of my choosing isn’t a traditional poet, as in academia may not instantly think of this man as a poet, but I do. I completely do! It is the Australian rocker, Nick Cave. I first heard him baritone voice singing about a “Red Right Hand” at a nightclub in Hollywood that catered to those who like wearing black clothes too much. I was one of those, but I would like to point out gothic, emo, poet, all pretty much have the same dress code. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the musicality of the piece, but it was the fact that I didn’t really find myself as fascinated with the musicality as I did the words. Perhaps that is a poets hazard, words take over tone, and actions because they do become all we care about. I went out and bought every album he had released up to that point. A healthy list that consist of everything from the 2001 No More Shall We Part to the 1984 From Her to Eternity. What I found was a man who loves words.  Here is the opening stanza from Red Right Hand, and just reading it you hear the attention to cadence:

Take a little walk to the edge of town
and go across the tracks
Where the viaduct looms,
like a bird of doom
As it shifts and cracks
Where secrets lie in the border fires,
in the humming wires

Should you not have ever heard of Nick Cave, May I suggest starting with Tender Prey, that features Mercy Seat, Up Jumped the Devil, and Deanna. The Murder Ballads are also pretty mind-blowing (plus there are fabulous duets with the likes of PJ Harvey on that album)

In case that is not enough, Nick Cave has scored soundtracks, written movies, books, and had a documentary about him and the band.  So I do implore you to look into this man’s work.  He has never seen the type of fame in the United States that many other countries have bestowed upon him, and I’m blaming that on the fact that poetry, even when in musical form, needs to be more wildly celebrated.

Today I give you two videos from YouTube, instead of poems.

First “Nobody’s Baby Now”, which I am convinced is an Elegy, but have no proof other than my gut.  It is from the album, Let Love In.

 

From Tender Prey the song, which is really a ballad, “Mercy Seat” about a death row inmate.

Day 3~Kim Addonizio

kim-bar13And what if your mom was this cool? What if your mom was a musician, artist, and poet? Kim Addonizio is not your mom, and she certainly isn’t mine, but I like to think of her as the mother of the current crop of Rock and Roll Poets, as I call them. Her work is edgy, or so academia seems to think, but to me it is as REAL as REAL is when waking up in a bed that’s not yours with a tipped over bottle of vodka that you are damn sure hoping poured out onto the floor and not your mouth. Now that good just be me. But these are my favorite poets.

This is a multi talented writer, who has written not just prize-winning poems, but prize-winning essays. She never stops writing, it would appear with her latest publication being a story collection , The Palace of Allusions in 2014 and now Blues Poems and Portraits (2015)

I came to Addonizio in a back-handed way, a student handed me her book, Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within, and I was in love with the ideas she let out and onto me. So then it was to her poetry I ran. It has only been a few years, and still she has become a favorite. Below I give you two of her poems, and urge you to at the very least buy Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within. When I read her poetry I think, if only Anne Sexton were alive to see how far we get to take poetry now, she would be PROUD!
Two of my favorite poems from this poet who knows how to push the edge and sometimes jump right over.

What Do Women Want?

BY KIM ADDONIZIO

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Kim Addonizio, “What Do Women Want?” from Tell Me. Copyright © 2000 by Kim Addonizio.
found on poets.org, buy the book at www.boaeditions.org.

Source: Tell Me (BOA Editions Ltd., 2000)

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Divine

BY KIM ADDONIZIOOh hell, here’s that dark wood again.
You thought you’d gotten through it—
middle of your life, the ogre turned into a mouse
and heart-stopped, the old hag almost done,
monsters hammered down
into their caves, werewolves outrun.
You’d come out of all that, into a field.
There was one man standing in it.
He held out his arms.
Ping went your iHeart
so you took off all your clothes.
Now there were two of you,
or maybe one, mashed back together
like sandwich halves,
oozing mayonnaise.
You lived on grapes and antidepressants
and the occasional small marinated mammal.
You watched the DVDs that dropped
from the DVD tree. Nothing
was forbidden you, so no worries there.
It rained a lot.
You planted some tomatoes.
Something bad had to happen
because no trouble, no story, so
Fuck you, fine, whatever,
here comes more black trees
hung with sleeping bats
like ugly Christmas ornaments.
Don’t you hate the holidays?
All that giving. All those wind-up
crèches, those fake silver icicles.
If you had a real one you could stab
your undead love through its big
cursed heart. Instead you have a silver noodle
with which you must flay yourself.
Denial of pleasure,
death before death,
alone in the woods with a few bats
unfolding their creaky wings.

—Kim Addonizio

from Best American Poetry 2013

Day 2~Andrew Demcak

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 4.14.42 PMToday I want to profile a man that I consider my friend, Andrew Demcak. I met Andrew (what seems like a million years ago) in college. It was my first day at California State University, Long Beach, and I had signed up for a Creative Writing Poetry class that I had no right to be in. I sat in the corner scared as I watched all these upper classmen come in, and finally just stared down at a blank paper tapping my pen, then Andrew walked in greeting everyone like family members he had not seen in far too long. I looked up and saw hair, wild and spiraling hair, which would take many formations in the time we were in college. Andrew, at that time, I believe was in his 5th year of college, as he decided to take his time, and I was grateful because some of the best times I ever had in college were a direct result of him (particularly when we took Buddhism class together). But what was amazing about Andrew, outside of his hair, was his writing. Even then, sitting in a class with him, I knew he was destined to be a great writer and being his friend was a privilege. Lately he has found his writing leading him to novels, but I want you to see some of his work as a poet.  He does what great poets do, he makes us see images in ways we have not considered, but when he writes them, it is like we should have known all along.  The two poems below are a small fraction of how he will amaze you if you were to pick up his book Night Chant, or any of his books actually.

 

I have picked two that I love below. Enjoy and feel free to friend him on Facebook, or following him on twitter.

 

Threading

Your cancer was trimmed with blue scissors.
You folded like a Parisian rag rug,
a tourist in the sterile, chemo room.
Culled cloth,
 little fugues from fingertips,
tissue patterns issuing from your body.
Radiology, 
loose ends rethreaded.
Stitched with a sash of mango crepe,
costly silk in venous pleats, 
dark yellow.
Your rebirth came as a daffodil cape.

 

Copyright © 2009 Andrew Demcak
All rights reserved
from A Single Hurt Color

 

Stings

Client #15 twitches and sweats. My latest rehab cellmate,
he tells of offering his arm’s white dandelion to any passing
bee. He waits in bloom. Industrial chemicals to needle
into his wilting skin, pollinating him. Miraculous, there he
curls dreaming of that brood chamber: a queen’s poisonous
barb looming over him, weekly visits of waxy syringes and
burnt teaspoons.

 

 

 

You can purchase many of Andrews poetry books on Amazon.
Some are sold out, he’s that amazing!

Day 1~Anne Sexton

Picture 4If I did not start with Anne Sexton I would be a hypocrite, because I believe she is the mother of my work (and many poets work) as she taught me what modern poetry could be, heart wrenching, beautiful, witty, powerful, and freedom.  Yes her poetry was part of the confessional movement, a movement I see as liberating and the soul of all modern poetry.  After all, aren’t we all confessing some part of us every time we pick up a pen? She taught me you can write about anything from a necklace sent by a friend to Rumpelstiltskin to your own body.  Before I was brought to Anne Sexton’s work, I thought all poetry had to rhyme and sound like the Romantic Period, and sadly all mine did.

Her life was not long enough, only surviving this world for 45 years (November 9, 1928-October 4, 1974), but her words will survive when we seize too. She wrote over 18 books (4 children’s books with Maxine Kumin) and left unpublished work upon her departure.

Today I post two of my favorite poems by Anne Sexton.  I love these two poems so much that I have portions of them stenciled on my office wall.  May I urge you read far more of her work when you have time.

With Mercy for the Greedy

BY ANNE SEXTON

For my friend, Ruth, who urges me to make an appointment for the Sacrament of Confession

Concerning your letter in which you ask
me to call a priest and in which you ask
me to wear The Cross that you enclose;
your own cross,
your dog-bitten cross,
no larger than a thumb,
small and wooden, no thorns, this rose—
I pray to its shadow,
that gray place
where it lies on your letter … deep, deep.
I detest my sins and I try to believe
in The Cross. I touch its tender hips, its dark jawed face,
its solid neck, its brown sleep.
True. There is
a beautiful Jesus.
He is frozen to his bones like a chunk of beef.
How desperately he wanted to pull his arms in!
How desperately I touch his vertical and horizontal axes!
But I can’t. Need is not quite belief.
All morning long
I have worn
your cross, hung with package string around my throat.
It tapped me lightly as a child’s heart might,
tapping secondhand, softly waiting to be born.
Ruth, I cherish the letter you wrote.
My friend, my friend, I was born
doing reference work in sin, and born
confessing it. This is what poems are:
with mercy
for the greedy,
they are the tongue’s wrangle,
the world’s pottage, the rat’s star.

Anne Sexton, “With Mercy for the Greedy” from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981). Copyright © 1981 by Linda Gray Sexton and Loring Conant, Jr. Reprinted with the permission of Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

Source: The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1981)

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My favorite Christmas gift of 2012 (thanks Alan), and a book I suggest others run out to purchase.

That Day

This is the desk I sit at
and this is the desk where I love you too much
and this is the typewriter that sits before me
where yesterday only your body sat before me
with its shoulders gathered in like a Greek chorus,
with its tongue like a king making up rules as he goes,
with its tongue quite openly like a cat lapping milk,
with its tongue – both of us coiled in its slippery life.
That was yesterday, that day.
That was the day of your tongue,
your tongue that came from your lips,
two openers, half animals, half birds
caught in the doorway of your heart.
That was the day I followed the king’s rules,
passing by your red veins and your blue veins,
my hands down the backbone, down quick like a firepole,
hands between legs where you display your inner knowledge,
where diamond mines are buried and come forth to bury,
come forth more sudden than some reconstructed city.
It is complete within seconds, that monument.
The blood runs underground yet brings forth a tower.
A multitude should gather for such an edifice.
For a miracle one stands in line and throws confetti.
Surely The Press is here looking for headlines.
Surely someone should carry a banner on the sidewalk.
If a bridge is constructed doesn’t the mayor cut a ribbon?
If a phenomenon arrives shouldn’t the Magi come bearing gifts?
Yesterday was the day I bore gifts for your gift
and came from the valley to meet you on the pavement.
That was yesterday, that day.
That was the day of your face,
your face after love, close to the pillow, a lullaby.
Half asleep beside me letting the old fashioned rocker stop,
our breath became one, became a child-breath together,
while my fingers drew little o’s on your shut eyes,
while my fingers drew little smiles on your mouth,
while I drew I LOVE YOU on your chest and its drummer
and whispered, ‘Wake up!’ and you mumbled in your sleep,
‘Sh. We’re driving to Cape Cod. We’re heading for the Bourne
Bridge. We’re circling the Bourne Circle.’ Bourne!
Then I knew you in your dream and prayed of our time
that I would be pierced and you would take root in me
and that I might bring forth your born, might bear
the you or the ghost of you in my little household.
Yesterday I did not want to be borrowed
but this is the typewriter that sits before me
and love is where yesterday is at.

Anne Sexton on Amazon where you can purchase all or just some of her work.

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