She Is Sleeping

She is sleeping now and has been
sleeping for so long in a time
when she is not in love with
me or the world. I want to
shake her, awaken her from this slumber.

My touch only annoys her, she turns
away from me and towards the window
back to another world only she inhabits.
Places here, now, past and places unknown
where I can’t live or even visit.

Might I but moor – Tonight – With Thee

Fast and flimsy sex and still not
able to sleep, but she has fallen –

under the covers to the other world.

I move down the cold, dark passage
where every move I make echoes twice.

legs

I was reading about Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who prepared the first edition of Emily Dickinson’s poems in 1890. He wrote to his co-editor: “One poem only I dread a little to print – that wonder ‘Wild Nights,’ – lest the malignant read into it more than that virgin recluse ever dreamed of putting there. . . . Yet what a loss to omit it! Indeed it is not to be omitted.”

That comment made me look at the poem again and think about Emily – that virgin recluse – fantasizing in her room one night when she couldn’t sleep.

Emily’s poem:

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the Winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor –
Tonight – With Thee!

Emily Dickinson

Scarlet Experiments

It’s what we do to birds, poems,
relationships – we cut them open – to expose
inner secrets and try to figure out
how it works or why it doesn’t.
In the end, we murder to dissect.

 

bird skull

Bird skull image by Ian Lindsay from Pixabay


Emily Dickinson’s poem “Split the Lark” refers to the “scarlet experiment.” I had to look up that reference. It is a term applied to when scientists destroy a bird or any creature in order to learn more about it. As Emily says, you can’t find the music inside the bird.

“Split the Lark – and You’ll find the Music –
Bulb after Bulb, in Silver rolled –
Scantily dealt to the Summer Morning
Saved for your Ear, when Lutes be old –
Loose the Flood – you shall find it patent –
Gush after Gush, reserved for you –
Scarlet Experiment! Skeptic Thomas!
Now, do you doubt that your Bird was true?”
(Dickinson 391)

I read about this in Scarlet Experiment: Birds and Humans in America which also looks at how some writers, including Emily, use birds in their literature.

“We murder to dissect” comes from a poem by William Wordsworth, “The Tables Turned”

“Sweet is the lore which nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Misshapes the beauteous forms of things;
—We murder to dissect.”

Both poems consider how we analyze to the point of destroying things in nature. In my poem, I consider how we also do it with relationships.

Diagramming the Plot

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof,
shit detector.”  ― Ernest Hemingway

I should have seen it coming before
you ever said it. I studied foreshadowing
in school. Taught it to my students.
All the clues were there. So obvious
now. I missed the denouement.  All conclusion.

Ordinary Time

We have been living in ordinary time.
Not green days between Easter and Advent,
but gray days without color or romance.
I count the days, pray for intimacy,
want to rewind time to our spring.


Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Pexels.com

Ordinary Time (Latin: Tempus per annum) is the part of the liturgical year in the liturgy of the Roman Rite between Christmastide and Lent, and between Eastertide and Advent. The liturgical color assigned to Ordinary Time is green. The last Sunday of Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of Christ the King. The “ordinary” cames from “ordinal” for the numerals that mark these weeks of the seasons of Christmastide and Eastertide starting with the 1st week of Ordinary Time in January to the 34th week that begins toward the end of November.