Friday, June 4, 2010

The Feminine Century


When I came home tonight
I lit the lamps in the patio,
a couple of those kerosene flares too.
I guess I was lighting up
the loneliness all around.
Just like my mother did.
She too fought to stay young.
As a boy I watched her tape her cheeks
up tight, glue her neck at the back sides
to tighten the throat.
She was a real magician.
She taught me romance.
That’s why I’m up on the roof now,
listening to the goats navigate
the moonlight terraces, their bells
the sentimental code of the mountain.
It was the sound Karen most loved.
It always made her feel safe.
The peacefulness that replaced
my troubled days away.
How she suffered, my queen.
How we rode the struggle,
between the present impossible
and the future
we could not build.
Whenever I am out here,
on the roof of the house
we built together, I think of her.
I like to imagine she is the center
mystics dream of finding.
The secret scientists feel
the universe possesses.
It makes me wonder just what it is
that I have accomplished.
Perhaps the way is other than
I have imagined. For example,
I could have cast aside the various
defections of my troubled behavior,
the selfish nature
of the un-godly investigations.
That punishing game of the body
which worked to diminish
the spirit of the woman I loved.
Yes I could have, but I didn’t.
Instead, I went on sending
failed postcards to imaginary dolls,
and secret letters to angels
who lived in my loins.
O I dreamed up a filthy universe,
and made my wife carry it to church.
Into the garden,
out on picnics along the bay.
For a generation I worked to salvage
the Eros of my childhood.
Thundering under all before me.
Using up the hopes of my loving partner.
Went on, and on, until I killed her heart.
And here on my fingertips are what remains,
a number of conquests, from cashmere
to dirty white cotton.

Barry Tagrin

Posted over on Hellenic International Studies in the Arts

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