Friday, September 07, 2012
Give me the strongest cheese, the one that stinks best;
and I want the good wine, the swirl in crystal
surrendering the bruised scent of blackberries,
or cherries, the rich spurt in the back
of the throat, the holding it there before swallowing.
Give me the lover who yanks open the door
of his house and presses me to the wall
in the dim hallway, and keeps me there until I'm drenched
and shaking, whose kisses arrive by the boatload
and begin their delicious diaspora
through the cities and small towns of my body.
To hell with the saints, with martyrs
of my childhood meant to instruct me
in the power of endurance and faith,
to hell with the next world and its pallid angels
swooning and sighing like Victorian girls.
I want this world. I want to walk into
the ocean and feel it trying to drag me along
like I'm nothing but a broken bit of scratched glass,
and I want to resist it. I want to go
staggering and flailing my way
through the bars and back rooms,
through the gleaming hotels and weedy
lots of abandoned sunflowers and the parks
where dogs are let off their leashes
in spite of the signs, where they sniff each
other and roll together in the grass, I want to
lie down somewhere and suffer for love until
it nearly kills me, and then I want to get up again
and put on that little black dress and wait
for you, yes you, to come over here
and get down on your knees and tell me
just how fucking good I look
- Kim Addonizio
Note: This poem came in on Larry Robinson's poem a day site. I was a bit surprised to find it there (because of the strong content) and you may likewise be surprised to find it here. It is quite different from the poems that usually appear on this site, but it is a remarkably well constructed poem (she knows how to write!) and it expresses the "other side of the coin," the side that deals not with transcendence but immanence, the boundless joy of one who revels in "the things of this world," even as expressed in topics often considered off bounds in polite circles. Kim is not trying to be polite. She is insisting on meeting life on her own terms, whether "society" (the church and its dogmas) approve or not. It is, on one level, a poem about God as contained in everything, even areas we normally consider "not nice." It is a poem of passion.
It is also a poem about "breaking loose," becoming who we are whether others may approve or not. Poems like this take courage. They are "no holds barred" expressions of the free spirit expressing itself. I think reading it also frees up some part of ourselves that we may normally repress (not that we are going to do the things described in the poem)--but all of us like to think shocking thoughts from time to time, maybe even do shocking things.
Kim has the gift of the true poet--the ability to express extremely passionate material without resorting to vulgarity or obscenity, as many younger poets today like to do. She broadens our horizons without offending. Hers is "the God of all that is," though of course she never uses that term.
(picture found on Google--from Wordpress)