Friday, March 25, 2005

a poem

This is a poem I read in the latest NEW YORKER. I was in the elevator going up to my apartment, and scanning the magazine, and I noticed the poem because I know the poet. And as I read it, my jaw practically dropped and I felt dizzy. I thought, if I were a woman (I'm not) this would be about me. Maybe that is what makes it great: it applies to all of us, anyone who has ever lost in love. Maybe I will be sued for copying it here, but I am doing so in reverance. I was at Yaddo years ago with the guy who wrote it; I had a wild party in my studio and he lent me his stereo system. At the end of the party, a bat flew into the studio and terrorized us all, the drunken hangers-on. Lucy, my dear departed Lucy, and I danced. And later that night, in the early morning actually, another poet tried to seduce me, but I was scared and ran away. So many years ago...


Because he left her, she must make him
someone she doesn't love, rescripting as
deception their hand-clasped walks at dusk
when she felt his was the hand of God
linking her to him because she was
so blessed to be given this love
this late in life. It must have been lies:
each touching word, all thoughtfulness,
his shows of pleasure putting her first,
his endearing sex talk that first
amused her then got to her
(his hot moist breath the poison in her ear)
as he learned with seemingly selfless patience
how to move inside her as no one ever had before.
How can she change memories like these?
He must have been lying
because the man who did these things
could not leave her with no warning or reason.
But she knows he wasn't,
and, because she knows he wasn't,
she is stuck. No one can help her.
No one can enter the sacred circle they made together
she now wears as a necklace of fire.
How can she obliterate the person he is?
What is she to do? She has to live.

(Michael Ryan)

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