I am moving town. I am going to be unemployed soon and should be looking for a job and making neat lists for neat packing.  And of course there are other things I should be doing if I was a sensible adult leaving her hometown for the immediate future. Instead, I am reading Atlantic online with a interesting admixture of jealousy and sighing admiration.

You know how people with super-straight hair long for and simultaneously turn up their noses at mad Mallu hair and people with long springy curls will pay good money to have hair like the stunning teenagers from the North-east ?

I think there is a similiar minima-maxima affliction among writers. If you are inclined to spartan verse then you are drived mad by lush poetry. "Do you want that? Do you need that? Why does she need to use so many words, the names of fruit, the names of food, smells, colours? Another line and she is on the dangerous edge of becoming the blurb of a Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni." It irritates and arouses at the same time.

Wallace Stevens' Sunday morning

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.

Arielle Greenberg (who has even a theory of aesthetics for the rich yet conversational style of women poets who grew up in the 60's and 70's which she calls Gurlesque!) writes like this.


As she walks up to him standing on line:
How'd you get so turquoise?
referring to the neon of her shirt
winking from beneath her raincoat.
She stares at him, hard.
She thinks I have nothing to say
when he most wants an answer,
better to leave his breath-pumped words
fragrant in the air between us like nicotine.
So, later:
Did I embarrass you?
ducking his mouth into her hair.
She murmurs and moves her head from shoulder to shoulder
and bathtub-fills,
pre-tongued speech chugging through her blood.

What did I do, some
kindergarten good samaritan act to receive you?
Superfluous with Right Things,
a rainstorm of beautiful language,
a shooting gallery of bullet jokes
that spit me down dead,
your slightly looped devil smile,
a churning potion of bliss and shame,
and oh, the way your mouth feels against my hair!
Yes, you embarrass me.
It embarrasses me that I can't hand you a gilt-wrapped
response to calm you,
wires hot with caffeine and doubt
jumping and crossing beneath your skin.
It embarrasses me to think I once thought
something else, something not you, was ever good.

Instead she turns her face to him,
a blank, hard moon.
Kisses him thick on the cheek,
and immediately and roughly scrapes off
the lipstick with the side of her hand.

Here is a bit of Elizabeth Cox's Samson in Love

Smoke swells up into her ribs.
She loves the way he runs.
The breath of bees humming in the lion;
yet around his wrist the woman’s breath comes
down hard and makes him stir today
inside his bones. He lies
to her about his hair. He lies

about the swarm of bees and the ribs
his hand scooped honey from today.
When she touches him with her bare hands, he runs,
so she closes up her palm, and sweetness comes
into the oldest honeycomb—inside her chest of lion.

She waits, so still she lies, too raw for mending runs—
with raging bees inside her ribs, the honey comes.
He does not know, today, if he has killed or loved this lion. 

Oh I want and I want and I want. The Buddha was right about the nature of suffering.


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