Monday, December 27, 2010

In Search of Lost Times (The New Yorker)

In Search of Lost Times

She lay with her eyes closed,
Head back against the edge.
She sang in an errant, unidentifiable tune.
Lifting her arms one by one,
Cleaning between her breasts and her legs.

She was crying
As if silence trumped pain.

“Beautiful girl,
Are you mad?”

She was always tempered by disappointment.
She’d just stand,
Hands on hips, facing the emptiness.
Her dirty, pretty smell still hung in the air.

She looked pretty lying there,
Lying asleep,
Like the illustration of Sleeping Beauty.

Her mind wandered.
In that peaceful oblivion,
Divorced from the feelings that usually plagued her,
Unworried about what she looked like in her homemade clothing
Or what others thought of the girl with invisible wounds.

You can see her counting the minutes
Until she can get the hell out of there.

It’s not easy to see something destroyed.

She disappeared.
She was torn from her dreams.

Women in Danger (The New Yorker & Glamour Magazine)

Women in Danger

Now that her husband has gone on to his glory
The Waiting Woman wears a long dark skirt.
She befits her role as a female living in America,
The sound of silence, of loneliness, that pervades her house.

We are so attached to our identities as independent women,
We rarely show men our weaknesses.

I wanted to show him
I could handle myself.

I know you can do it.
He said,
But today, I’m going to do it for you.

The Dashing Man will not go away,
His continuing presence is a testament to her charm.

“Ode to the Man Who Kneels”
He lays his heavy head on her lap
Whenever he gets tired of the violence in his life.
She’s too frightened to explore.

These are the essential learning moments
Every woman needs.
You really do get smarter
By going where you shouldn’t in love.

Drunk and swept away
Big strong girl,
Let him help you…

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The King's Riots (The New Yorker)

The King's Riots

Sitting on the back porch,
Drinking tea, listening to crickets, and talking.
Talking with people who've pulled a trigger.
They were considered terrorists.

Local landmarks
A grassy area nearby.
The main body drop
Up to eleven bodies a week
Most were brutally mutilated.

We've already taken our revenge.
American bombing.
We're the ones who've made them crawl.
American patrols ambushed.
They had death squads.
Now we're the ones to pick them up.

They were killing too many people.
They never killed anyone who was innocent.
Neighbors celebrate
When some were killed.
Victims really are all "bad guys"

"Please don't kill me,"

Hunt a bad guy
Kill a bad guy
Get out of there alive.

The people realized they had let something in that they couldn't control.

they don't train you for this.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Among Reason and Plants (The New Yorker)

Among Reason and Plants

The forest was like a crowded city.
The trees and grass
stop thinking altogether and just droop.
They lived in this land as best they could.

The hunter was like his father
caressing flowers and trees
with trembling pleasure,
waging war on the birds and beasts
as if they were ferocious enemies.
And then returning home
a kind, sensitive family man
Longing to be back in nature.

His day would be taken over by bushes and soil.
I'll carry on living in darkness.
He disappeared into the forest,
putting aside his recent grief
for the sake of future life.

While at home, a choir of young girls
Were singing far away,
but the sense of their music remained clear:
People should live in bliss,
Not in need and torment.

The gloom of nature
The loveliness of the world
His own heart's joy.

Listen to the voices of fate.

Fallen Idols (The New Yorker)

Fallen Idols

In bed by nine-thirty
out of bed by 6 A.M.

For the past few years,
His wife has been dreaming
More and more in French.

These conversations are oddly soothing.
Nothing could be more natural
than the cadences of
one language summoning the other.

We had finished dinner
Were sitting in the living room.
Cocktails are at six-thirty.
Why must you find trauma
Where there is none?

When the shells began to fall,
The visits gradually ceased.
Soon came the names of the dead.
Their brief descriptions
scribbles on three-by-five inch index cards.
The war shattered the world
Visibly destroyed that nursery of living culture.

Someone starts speaking in French.

The boy became depressed
hinting at suicide.
He brews coffee
and head down the hall to his study.
White brick walls
Black-and-white tiled floor.

Conceal the losses.

He dips into the manuscripts and books that
people send him
seeking a moment
when all the world spoke French.