Thursday, May 5, 2011

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

A good friend of mine (and fellow Emerson poet) recently launched an online poetry journal: Interrupture. The first issue went live in February and contains some excellent poems. This one is by another Emerson graduate, the delightful Mary Kovaleski Brynes. She's been published in a number of places and is currently living in Spain. Anyway, I love how feverish this poem is -- I think the repetitions are well done and well placed, and the piece has a sensual rhythm, not to mention amazing images. Me likey (and hope you do, too).

Maybe This Happens to Everyone

When I woke, Paris was in flames.

I spent the day in bed while a man I loved

kissed my ankles, the white arches

of my feet, asked what made them,

and I told him it was the Sacre Cœur--

when a city is burning like that there’s no time

for lies. At night the flames were in my hair,

the flames were in his mouth and each street

unrolled like a long tongue that gave

us what we couldn’t understand,

only if we’d dance on the cobbles

they’d light up like the disco floors

of les Grands Boulevards, like the smooth-trodden

gravestones of popes inside the cathedral,

the martyrs emblazoned on the Bastille.

I don’t remember the Bastille.

It is impossible to remember the Bastille

when his hand is up my dress on the metro

and Paris is in flames. The trains

brought us in through a tunnel underwater:

the Chunnel was made of glass,

the train like a chain of dolphins linked end to end,

arching silver with the currents,

and we saw Humpbacks, eyes big as our train car,

slow and bovine—it took minutes to pass them.

Their whale eyes were looking at us—

everyone in Paris was looking at us.

We weren’t looking at anyone, and when we did

their faces were like mirrors and I loved

his strange watery reflection but kissed only him.

The trains came. The trains moved out

of the blue-glass station while we ate crepes Nutella

and called them crapes because we were Americans.

The trains came. The trains moved out.

Our train moved out.

We stayed. Paris lit and smoldered.

Maybe this was the beginning of the world again, maybe

it was the end—maybe this happens to everyone

in every city, even in small towns, where corn fields

catch fire at the end of summer

and teenagers tear off their clothes

and run naked through them, tempting

the flames with their flawless skin,

but it won’t brand them, won’t even singe,

no matter how hard they run.

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