Friday, May 7, 2010

The Human Condition

The Human Condition

Last night it rained so hard
I thought for a moment my bed
had floated down the stairs and
out to the garden
I reached under my pillow
found the umbrella and read poetry
to the garden spiders
with the rain keeping time those poems
were songs of the poets who knew
so much of the human nature that they walked
into rivers
or blew off their heads in foreign hotel rooms
and just when I think it's such waste
I understand that maybe they knew they had written
all they could write
the world had taken all from them that they had
and rather than be JD Salinger
rather than drink and drink until their livers
looked like Bukowski's weathered face
they just ended it and forever they will be young
and beautiful
and talented
we all will have wished for more and read them
with the color of melancholy written on our souls
Tonight their tears fell and made the noises
when rain hits the leaves of the trees
and if I could I'd conjure Anne Sexton to sit with me
and have her tell me the story of the girl with one eye
and two eyes and of course three
I'd make her tea and drink from very old tea cups
and for a moment I'd carry the burden of her sadness
sometimes I bathe in sadness
when I read of lives lost in the struggle to be human
to have empathy of the condition that is life
and to understand how I fit into any part of it it all


My poem of Anne Sexton is not nearly as wonderful as her own, of course.

Her poetry was madness and brilliant. She was a feminist and a mother and a wife. She reminds me of the movie, Revolutionary Road. She only wrote poetry after she was failed by therapy after an attempt at suicide. Later that attempt would bring her to another world. She won the Prize, she now dances with the Gods and we just well get to miss her.

It Is A Spring Afternoon

Everything here is yellow and green.
Listen to its throat, its earthskin,
the bone dry voices of the peepers
as they throb like advertisements.
The small animals of the woods
are carrying their deathmasks
into a narrow winter cave.
The scarecrow has plucked out
his two eyes like diamonds
and walked into the village.
The general and the postman
have taken off their packs.
This has all happened before
but nothing here is obsolete.
Everything here is possible.

Because of this
perhaps a young girl has laid down
her winter clothes and has casually
placed herself upon a tree limb
that hangs over a pool in the river.
She has been poured out onto the limb,
low above the houses of the fishes
as they swim in and out of her reflection
and up and down the stairs of her legs.
Her body carries clouds all the way home.
She is overlooking her watery face
in the river where blind men
come to bathe at midday.

Because of this
the ground, that winter nightmare,
has cured its sores and burst
with green birds and vitamins.
Because of this
the trees turn in their trenches
and hold up little rain cups
by their slender fingers.
Because of this
a woman stands by her stove
singing and cooking flowers.
Everything here is yellow and green.

Surely spring will allow
a girl without a stitch on
to turn softly in her sunlight
and not be afraid of her bed.
She has already counted seven
blossoms in her green green mirror.
Two rivers combine beneath her.
The face of the child wrinkles.
in the water and is gone forever.
The woman is all that can be seen
in her animal loveliness.
Her cherished and obstinate skin
lies deeply under the watery tree.
Everything is altogether possible
and the blind men can also see.

Anne Sexton


Lessons in Hunger

'Do you like me?'
I asked the blue blazer.
No answer.
Silence bounced out of his books.
Silence fell off his tongue
and sat between us
and clogged my throat.
It slaughtered my trust.
It tore cigarettes out of my mouth.
We exchanged blind words,
and I did not cry,
and I did not beg,
blackness lunged in my heart,
and something that had been good,
a sort of kindly oxygen,
turned into a gas oven.
Do you like me?
How absurd!
What's a question like that?
What's a silence like that?
And what am I hanging around for,
riddled with what his silence said?


When someone takes their own life there is a feeling of loss, helplessness, why didn't she call? Why didn't she find someone who loved her and ask them to save her? Maybe she tried, maybe she was afraid to try. Maybe just maybe all her efforts were in vain and all she was mean to be was a poetess. Maybe.

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