By Marilyn Hacker
You did say, need me less and I’ll want you more.
I’m still shellshocked at needing anyone,
used to being used to it on my own.
It won’t be me out on the tiles till four-
thirty, while you’re in bed, willing the door
open with your need. You wanted her then,
I Google my name and your name. I wrote another poem that started like that but fuck it, I like this poem better. I Google swift touch. I Google Swiffer Wet Jet. There are coupons on the website. These coupons make the Swiffer Wet Jet affordable. I will buy two in case one…
Because I live in south Florida I store cans of black beans and gallons
of water in my closet in preparation for hurricane season.
I throw a hurricane party in January. You’re my only guest.
We play Marco Polo in bed. The sheets are wet like the roof caved in.
There’s a million of me in…
When you talk to yourself, you talk to the things
and of the things that are so bitter,
no other conversation is possible;
both bear death, both end blind.
Here the east sings and the west sinks pints,
fruit explodes with ripeness,
ooze from palm and rubber tree,
even the orchid runs with individual justice.
You all over, you once again open to all,
the final hour, and you soar and soar,
then one more song, and you sink, transfixed,
you know existence, and you hold your peace.
—Gottfried Benn, from “Despair”
Art Credit Zdravko Mandic
Stream of consciousness while watching the inauguration and drinking coffee.
How I spent last week.
I wrote something little for the Rumpus. The prompt was a ‘storm story.’ Here is mine.
* * *
We wake up giddy. The wind rattles the house, shrieks Good morning! The storm is coming! Something loose and delicate creaks inside the walls. It’s exciting to pretend it’s the end of days.
I come and peek out your bedroom window and the sky is milky and heavy, half-stirred. Let’s go.
For days, the Weather Channel has provided our soundtrack, moody and apocalyptic. We prepare willingly—carry water for blocks, stockpile ice, charge devices. We are ready for life to be interrupted.
The streets are empty in the grey morning. The weary trees know something is up.
I kick leaves as we head to the pier at N. 5th street in Williamsburg, the wind ripping my hair back into long wet tangles. Yellow police tape blocks the pier and we duck under without pause. Today is made for breaking rules.
Standing at the edge of the frothing water, we stage our own weather report. Microphone in hand, we issue warnings, report on the strength of the wind, measure how quickly the water rises around our ankles.
Back at the apartment, the rain turns from insistent to frenzied.
When night falls, you disappear for a moment, reappear gently carrying St. Anthony of Padua, who you’ve lifted from his permanent place in the garden.
Placing him on the kitchen counter, you construct a makeshift shrine, surrounding the saint of lost objects with glowing dollar store candles. The lights flicker, turn off.
In the morning, we will see what has been lost.
I like an ending that’s both a door and a window.
This time of year the nights fall longer.
So grow a spine or catch cold.
The winter months, they do make you feel stronger
But in the end, it’s all getting old.