The Battlefield Where the Girls Say I Love You



That's just the thing: we will never tell you we love you. In fact, we're here only to hold hands across state lines and yell at the world. We're here to try to touch you across this chasm of flown things. Not even that. At most, I will teach you how to make a gin smoothie when there's nothing left in the house. Hannah can teach you several languages and what to do when your car breaks up with you. Thanks for coming out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

decorum, etc.

neither hannah nor myself is much of a prude. by which i mean we both are when it comes to certain matters...in our own, shy, repressed ways. yesterday she sent me a poem by brenda shaughnessy that she likes very much. only, in the first line lay the phrase, "unf*cked, ever-f*cked." and i sort of recoiled. i feel like swearing in a poem is not unlike yelling in a poem, and then i conjure up all sorts of bad thoughts that form an awful marriage between anne sexton and performance poetry. like, i'm still mortified by my twenty year-old self who, upon realizing i was allowed to swear in class, began doing so whenever possible. keep in mind: i was a religion major.

it doesn't help that i am religious, which is another battle altogether. i'm often reminded of this short poem by czeslaw milosz:

if there is no god

if there is no god,
not everything is permitted to man.
he is still his brother's keeper
and he is not permitted to sadden his brother
by saying there is no god.

but it's beautiful, the ways we can be empathetic while disagreeing. i mean, at our best we can be empathetic. while disagreeing.

then hannah sent me this hayden carruth (who, unfortunately, passed away last month) poem. i find the camaraderie of it beautiful. it is, i assume, for d. levertov?

letter to denise

remember when you put on that wig
from the grab bag and then looked at yourself
in the mirror and laughed, and we laughed together?
it was a transformation, glamorous flowing tresses.
who knows if you might not have like to wear
that wig permanently, but of course you
wouldn't. remember when you told me how
you meditated, looking at a stone until
you knew the soul of the stone? inwardly i
scoffed, being the backwoods pragmatic yankee
that i was, yet i knew what you meant. i
called it love. no magic was needed. and we
loved each other too, not in the way of
romance but in the way of two poets loving
a stone, and world that the stone signified.
remember when we had that argument over
pee and piss in your poem about a bear?
"bears don't pee, they piss," i said. but you were
adamant. "my bears pee." and that was that.
then you moved away, across the continent,
and sometimes for a year i didn't see you.
we phoned and wrote, we kept in touch. and then
you moved again, much farther away, i don't
know where. no word from you now at all. but
i am faithful, my dear denise. and i still
love the stone, and, yes, i know its soul.

7 comments:

hannah said...

my heart f*cking breaks when i read this poem. like, it makes me mush in an i-heart-mames kind of way.

TOMORROW!!!

mamie said...

tomorrow, friend. tomorrow. moules and frites! it's going to be beautiful. if sal were there, i'd even play volleyball at captain bill's. seriously. not since team liquid room have i played there...

dsbarringer said...

You just tricked me into reading not one, but two poems.

But I kind of liked it.

Carry on.

sallylynn said...

i love both of you dearly.

for posting poems, for continually asterisking the word "f*cked," for agreeing that we will form our own captain bill's team and name it with some stupid pun...

you did just agree to that, didn't you? :)

and yes, mamie, you're coming back to wilmington in november when i'm there. because i'm jealous of your up-and-coming weekend, because i can't be in the same room with my jealousy right now because it's taking up all the oxygen...

hannah said...

i'm stamping my foot and screaming piteously, MOVE HERE MOVE HERE MOVE HERE.

ugh. you're all my favorites.

eric said...

All this l*ve is grossing me out. So. 1 2 3 4, I declare a poem war:

FATALITY by Ruben Dario

The tree is happy because it is scarcely sentient;
the hard rock is happier still, it feels nothing:
there is no pain as great as being alive,
no burden heavier than that of conscious life.

To be, and to know nothing, and to lack a way,
and the dread of having been, and future terrors...
And the sure terror of being dead tomorrow,
and to suffer all through life and through the darkness,

and through what we do not know and hardly suspect...
And the flesh that temps us with bunches of cool grapes,
and the tomb that awaits us with its funeral sprays,
and not to know where we go,
nor whence we came!...

hannah said...

exlamation mark PLUS ellipses? makes me think of someone in the other train screaming out the window and then vanishing out of sight.