"A friend asked yesterday if this blog is addressed to anyone in particular? I said yes– it’s a love letter to someone I haven’t met yet."
Lines for Winter
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon’s gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
what you know, which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are."
It is cloudy this morning so I imagine you sitting indoors somewhere in weather like this, staring out at the grayness. It is chilly too, so you're wearing a thin coat or thick sweater. Plum colored or gravel gray. Your fingernails are dark red but your lips are pale. Are you meeting someone? Or are you alone the whole day? Are you talking animatedly to a friend or silent, your hands still? Hands are not important to me although I know they are crucial to some people when describing their dream mate. On the chair next to you is a small purse. Or maybe none at all-- you don't like clutter. When you leave the apartment, often it is just with your keys in one pocket and some cash in the other. There's a cellphone too but you don't like to use it and usually forget it at home. I'm talking about the woman sitting half in shadows in the corner of an afternoon restaurant, one hand in her hair while she speaks into the phone in a language you've never heard before-- Norwegian or Turkish. A waiter comes over. Smiling, she gives him her full radiant attention, even if it's just to order a glass of wine. He walks away happy. She said something he liked, something unimportant but witty or kind that made things nicer for a few moments. I knew a woman who said she fell in love almost every day with men she passed on the street, men sitting in buses reading newspapers, in bars talking with their friends about sports. She said falling in love was the easiest thing in the world. I never could figure out whether she was right or dead wrong.
Old loves. They enter your thoughts unexpectedly, like a flash of summer lightning at night. They blast open a part of the sky pure phosphorescent white a moment, and then are gone. A memory is lit, or a few-- a meal together, an hour when nothing could be better than right now. The look in their eye that day you sat together by the river. Maybe if the memory is particularly strong, a shiver slides along your heart like an ice cube down your back. But then unless you are haunted or were ruined by this person, life goes back to a moment ago. You straighten up, take a long breath, and move forward. Maybe part of you looks once over your shoulder to see if, impossibly, they are there behind you again. But they never are.
by Kim Addonizio
Look at you, sitting there being good.
After two years you’re still dying for a cigarette.
And not drinking on weekdays, who thought that one up?
Don’t you want to run to the corner right now
for a fifth of vodka and have it with cranberry juice
and a nice lemon slice, wouldn’t the backyard
that you’re so sick of staring out into
look better then, the tidy yard your landlord tends
day and night — the fence with its fresh coat of paint,
the ash-free barbeque, the patio swept clean of small twigs —
don’t you want to mess it all up, to roll around
like a dog in his flowerbeds? Aren’t you a dog anyway,
always groveling for love and begging to be petted?
You ought to get into the garbage and lick the insides
of the can, the greasy wrappers, the picked-over bones,
you ought to drive your snout into the coffee grounds.
Ah, coffee! Why not gulp some down with four cigarettes
and then blast naked into the streets, and leap on the first
beautiful man you find? The words Ruin me, haven’t they
been jailed in your throat for forty years, isn’t it time
you set them loose in slutty dresses and torn fishnets
to totter around in five-inch heels and slutty mascara?
Sure it’s time. You’ve rolled over long enough.
Forty, forty-one. At the end of all this
there’s one lousy biscuit, and it tastes like dirt.
So get going. Listen: they’re howling for you now:
up and down the block your neighbors’ dogs
burst into frenzied barking and won’t shut up.
“What Do Women Want?”
by Kim Addonizio
I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.
by Wisława Szymborska
It could have happened.
It must have happened.
It happened earlier. Later.
Closer by. Further away.
It happened not to you.
You survived because you were the first.
You survived because you were the last.
Because you were alone. Because you were with others.
Because to the left. Because to the right.
Because it rained. Because there was shade.
Because the day was sunny.
Fortunately a forest was there.
Fortunately no trees were there.
Fortunately a rail, a hook, a bar, a brake,
an embrasure, a curve, a millimeter, a second.
Fortunately a razor was floating on water.
As a consequence, because, and yet, in spite.
What it would have been if a hand, a leg,
within an ace of, by a hair’s breadth
saved from a combination of circumstances.
So you are here? Straight from an abrogated moment?
The net had just one mesh and you went through that mesh?
I am all surprise and all silence.
how quickly your heart beats to me.
Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason,
you sing. For no reason, you accept
the way of being lost, cutting loose from all else and electing a world where you go
where you want to.
Arbitrary, sound comes, a reminder
that a steady center is holding
all else. If you listen, that sound will tell where it is, and you can slide your way past trouble.
Certain twisted monsters
always bar the path—but that’s when you get going best, glad to be lost, learning how real it is
here on the earth, again and again.