Sunday, November 15, 2009

magnificent poem by Amy King

here's a poem I read a year or so ago, and it's kept a presence in my mind since . . . :

it's by Amy King:


I’m in love with a man who doesn’t love me
with the pages of the book he sees from.
He makes love through his syllabic ink, a salted thunder,
leaves me to my own delirium tremors.
I gouge out his eyes, break the yolk across his shoulders,
disembowel the nectar from his liver.
His toxins become a cherry blossom wine.
He sounds in the brain’s eagled hollows
of a soft guitar from a Spanish café
among the mountain peaks in nightshade.
He cannot hide, no matter how many goats he scares
or biscuits he throws at the hunger.
The mother of everyone calls him.
His fright is an orb of Hold me, I’m yours,
crisp and curled with age’s yellow
and the godless sunburn you love across your nose.
I am that love you light yourself with
and my gender is powerless in this.
We are metered only by our own machines,
while the book is a clock that forgets her mechanics.
Her hands can count but would rather wipe warm dew,
the pall from your lips and kiss the lids
of your eyes from sleep. Here am I, is he,
with yoke and shadow removed, she is, her in me,
apart from you, man reading men by the lips of women.


—this is magnificent writing: the images are vivid and fresh, the rhythms/sounds are evocative and ear-catching . . .

if I had a quibble, it might be the poem's periodic structure. Like those three two-line sentences at the beginning—this is too static and monotonous perhaps. There are too many sentence stops. They halt the impetus of the emotion, I think.

I don't understand every metaphor, but that doesn't matter much in my appreciation.

The last phrase "man reading men by the lips of women" echoes of course the title,

and (here's another quib)

is such an interesting and potentially rich concept that I wish she had used it (or variations) as a refrain/echo/recurring trope within/throughout—

Petty qualms aside, this is a poem I've found engaging and well worth rereading.