Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's hot. Let's read a poem.

It's too hot to think straight. Not that I generally do anyway.

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There are so many poems out there. Do I really have anything to say that hasn't been said, and better, 85 bajillion times?

Does anyone?

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Here's a poem:



Daring Love

I am daring love to be anything else,
to be on its best behavior wicked, to be heartache
in its prime. Love, nod yes, the noggin
of a great disease. Make chain gangs by design,
love; be phantom brawling the nursery, be darkness.

Love, a cooing shadow when a stranger
takes me into his car. Love is my spiced breath,
love cuts teeth. Love unwinds iambic vines
down unrhymed alleyways, jeweled yet innocent weeds
casually blooming the balled tongues of children.
Love dedicates itself, all ruby-sucked thumbs,
to the stewing cradle at the foot of a stranger's
gut. Tell me truth, love: why want his mouth
that toils like a bad taste after the mint
of the moon?

Just leave husk and gristle. I dare you--

be the reason my mother hated to be touched.
Thirty years with a man who refused homecomings
and proms, married without mentioning love. My mother.
Every night she bleached the coaldust out of his clothes,
tasted in his mouth the coalmine, the scuttle, the coal.
You are that smoked winter, love, admit it. You waltzed
his black lung, her wallflower cancer. The ICU nurse
said my mother loved me. Love, are you an empty stare
as the heart, your celebrated domain,
latches its last door?

I am daring love to be anything else,
to be heathen in a red room, to be God's love
for Job, to be kicked dog. Grind your spotlight
on the daughterliest sons. Leave a little despair,
love, be what the least of us can claim.

--A. Loudermilk
from Strange Valentine

5 comments:

Ross White said...

I have quite a bit of revolutionary new material. Most of it is poop jokes, though.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

This is a solid poem. I like it. Very engaging.

I am daring love to be anything else,
to be heathen in a red room, to be God's love
for Job, to be kicked dog.

Great closing stanza.

Anne said...

Ross: I think there's more money in poop jokes than in poetry. In fact, I'm certain of it.

Sam: Glad you liked!

jenni said...

Does he still teach at IU? I heard he won a book contest. I need to get his book. Thanks for posting me a reminder!

Anne said...

Jenni: Nope, he left here shortly after getting his MFA. I think he moved to Northampton Mass., though I wouldn't swear to it. The book is pretty good, though because there were so many poems that had also appeared in his MFA thesis (which I read, since it's in the IU library) and his chapbook, a lot of it wasn't new to me. Good stuff though. He won the Crab Orchard first book prize with it.