Monday, November 9, 2015

They Lie Without Shoes, or: Born Eighty-Seven Years Ago Today

The traditional Egoslavian Holy Day for Anne Sexton paragraph:

Anne Sexton was born 87 years ago today. When I first read poetry one of the poets I read was Anne Sexton. I wrote last week about a new book of poetry criticism called Lyric Shame, it interrogates shame and shame's effect in poetry's version of King of Anarchists. The book features Anne Sexton among a half dozen, and it's true: even Anne Sexton's confessionalist poetry is a sin regardless the depth and width of original brilliance that kicked open doors to rooms no one had explored in these poetic forms. Hundreds of thousands have written shitty Anne Sexton imitative confessionalist poems and not a single one is Anne Sexton's fault. I ... I admit it, I love Anne Sexton's poetry, but so you feel safe, I promise all of mine were burned behind the Red Shed of Oakton when I was eighteen. The one of you who didn't know until now should know the Red Shed of Oakton, shelter to countless packs of Winston, er, Marlboros, is about to be torn down. Also too, this is my favorite Peter Gabriel song:

  • The Red Shed was NOT torn down. Perhaps I had misheard.
  • Have I ever told you my Tony Hecht told me Tony Hecht & Anne Sexton stories? They are as you would imagine. Hecht did not respect much confessional poetry or many confessional poets, but he said Sexton was the first, best, and only. Hecht despised Lowell, especially.
  • In a time of poisoned horses. I hate humans.
  • Autumn breathes.
  • Gogol Earth.
  • White Noise. I tried a few months ago. I couldn't.
  • And I had finished my reread of Ishiguro's Buried Giant while in Michigan visiting Planet two weekends ago, went into a used book store, found a copy of Elkin's George Mills (admittedly one of my least favorites), and - -  I couldn't. I mean, COULDN'T.
  • Oh, the Ishiguro reread (and yesterday was Ishiguro's birthday, btw): I think of Remains of the Day, The Unconsoled, and When We Were Orphans as a trilogy - no, as a single novel, my favorite novel, and everything since (Never Let Me Go, Nocturnes, Buried Giant) as addendum. Forgive me.
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links.
  • On sentences.
  • Sexton was an entry level drug for me - so was DeLillo. I read Sexton poems when I stumble upon them and on her birthday. I can't read DeLillo now, or Vonnegut or Irving or Heller, though I can read other entry - as in, those poets that got me hooked - level poets - Plath, Cummings, Jeffers. This fits my can read poetry, can't read novels general status. When I got home from Michigan I immediately went to bookshelves and found Elkin's book of novellas, Searches and Seizures, to try my favorite, "Bailbondsman," and..... and then, as experiment, I picked up With, the Harington - my favorite Harington novel - next to it, and..... and then I picked up the Collected Wilber, opened randomly, the poem worked. It's been two, three years now. Is more than a trend.
  • Musicians are cowards: David Thomas interview. 


Anne Sexton

The end of the affair is always death.   
She’s my workshop. Slippery eye,   
out of the tribe of myself my breath   
finds you gone. I horrify
those who stand by. I am fed.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Finger to finger, now she’s mine.   
She’s not too far. She’s my encounter.   
I beat her like a bell. I recline
in the bower where you used to mount her.   
You borrowed me on the flowered spread.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Take for instance this night, my love,   
that every single couple puts together   
with a joint overturning, beneath, above,   
the abundant two on sponge and feather,   
kneeling and pushing, head to head.   
At night alone, I marry the bed.

I break out of my body this way,   
an annoying miracle. Could I   
put the dream market on display?   
I am spread out. I crucify.
My little plum is what you said.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Then my black-eyed rival came.
The lady of water, rising on the beach,   
a piano at her fingertips, shame   
on her lips and a flute’s speech.
And I was the knock-kneed broom instead.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

She took you the way a woman takes   
a bargain dress off the rack
and I broke the way a stone breaks.
I give back your books and fishing tack.   
Today’s paper says that you are wed.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

The boys and girls are one tonight.
They unbutton blouses. They unzip flies.   
They take off shoes. They turn off the light.   
The glimmering creatures are full of lies.
They are eating each other. They are overfed.   
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

1 comment:

  1. that's a great poem by anne sexton

    my favorite peter gabriel song (and there are many great ones) - in your eyes