Thursday, January 21, 2010

The 2010 Suggested - Dorianne Laux

Quite by accident, I seem to have fallen into a routine: The almost-weekly glimpse of a female poet. So be it. This week I'm reaching back to 1994 and What We Carry by Dorianne Laux.

Laux is a tender/tough poet, sensual and yet sensible enough to be restrained. Two poems set side by side in What We Carry perhaps will illustrate what I mean.

Enough Music

Sometimes, when we're on a long drive,
and we've talked enough and listened
to enough music and stopped twice,
once to eat, once to see the view,
we fall into this rhythm of silence.
It swings back and forth between us
like a rope over a lake.
Maybe it's what we don't say
that saves us.


I remember sex before my husband
as a vague, vagrant landscape
of taller, darker men, all thick hair
and hands, the full lips of the rich past.
And sometimes, when I'm taking a sidewalk
full tilt, my heels chipping
the glittering cement, I feel their eyes,
their sweet lost fingers
tugging at my clothes -- the one
who fell behind just to watch me walk,
to see me as a stranger might,
then caught up to catch
a handful of my hair, turn me around,
pull me back into his bodies deep folds.
They all come back, tenacious
as angels, to lean against me
at the movies, the beach -- a shoulder
or a thigh pressed to mine, lashes
black and matted, and always
naked, clean and pure as souls slipped
glistening from the body's warm wick,
like my husband's fingers when he dips
into me, then lifts them
to his face, heavy with glaze, the leaves
crowded against our window, shivering.

Thanks again to Liza for a great poet recommendation!


R. Sanford said...

Hm, interesting. The first poem is pretty weak, the second quite strong.

I mean:

"Maybe it's what we don't say
that saves us. "

Really? Bleh.

The second makes up for it though. Very accessible really.

Charmi said...

That's funny, that's the line I like. However, the image of silence being like a rope I found very good, too. And what would happen, perchance, if you let go of the rope? I suppose it depends on the type of person you are.

I guess I've been saved and I've had relationships saved by not saying things a few times and it struck me as very true.

Mark said...

I have to agree with Charmi on this one--and yeah, it's probably because I've experienced something similar.

But I liked both of these a lot. I will see about getting my hands on that book, now.