That Morning in August

That Morning in August

A Poem by Marie Anzalone

She told me but this isn’t poetry. Poetry is nice. It

should make me feel good. So, I tried.

I tried to write only of ephemeral kisses and happy

well-fed people. Of carefree sparrows and respect

for my leaders and my great dream of marrying the

right man with nice straight teeth and a morning power

routine and our two perfect children.

Of emotionally safe sex and love of angels

and puppies.


Then I dreamed I was dying in a cage made of

daytime television and bleach and Styrofoam. I

started to hear voices, and they rose as a crescendo

and a trumpet and a nuclear air raid siren.


They told me of what the tree said in its own defense.

The lullaby the wind sang to the pines on their last night

before a visit from men with chainsaws.

I felt what a tired bird feels in your city when one day

everything it knew is concrete.

I read an opinion of war written in blood on the

walls and vast silences of shelled homes.

I read the clinical notes of the night-shift nurse

in San Pedro Sula.

I read what comforted a girl giving birth on a refugee

boat in the Adriatic Sea.


They told me, Poetry: 

is what is exposed when the polish of “nice”

wears thin and falls away.

It is what the boy who committed suicide could not

find to tell his family;

and what the kid in a robbery could not say

to his friends.

It is what people who only ever ride in cars miss,

that makes them hate the bus rider;

and what the bus-rider might put into words

if she knew how, and were not too tired,

from riding in buses.


It is the raw freedom exposed when you permit

the loving mother of your children

to ask you, without apology, to f**k me like a w***e;

but also, the unit used to measure space between

two lovers who share a bed but no longer

a heart.

It is what the orphan could teach you about the

sanctity of family; as much as saving the life

of the woman who married your ex, also could.

Or the woman who lost her child, blaming the

one who decided not to give birth.


It is what I think you meant when you said, “if only…

I had met you 10 year earlier.”


It is what my friend did not say to his mother in time.

What we did not see in the mirror by Nagasaki’s reflected light

that morning in August; and what those on the ground

did see.

It is my aunt walking into cancer’s battlefield, armed

only with a can of sarcasm.


It is what you miss most when you are so far

from the last place you called home;

and what you see on those inevitable midnight walks

when no place or person or building

has ever been home.

It is the stranger at your table, and the thief

in your family; and that knowing look when you

are trapped in a meeting and you see

the face of the only other person there who

understands you.

It is the guilt of being joyful while others are still suffering.

 

It is that last fence standing after

a century of wind and waves had their say.


Poetry is the sum total of all things raw and tender,

and more,

that I have ever wanted to, but could not,

say, to anyone, including you,

to and about and for, you. These are all things

I do not think she, living in a house made of straight

protected and committee-approved

lines and desires,

can comprehend today. This is how poetry

has always invaded the houses of those who are 

already dead.

 


 


for Francisco and Nelton, my muses today





© 2017 Marie Anzalone



Author's Note

Marie Anzalone
Inspired partly by a reading of Heather McHugh's intensely shattering poem, "What He Thought."

This poem was translated from its original in Spanish, which can be found here:

http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/zorra_encantada/1882668/


The photo is my own. It is a fence on the New Jersey shores, antique and with its own poetry to write home about.

My Review

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Featured Review

Everything has poetry. Just as everything has painting. It is our experiences that tell us what to believe and it is our beliefs that show us the words.
It takes the eye of an experieced artist to show us what true love in words is. It takes not the guilt but the personality of the true seeing artist to show us what true art in words really is
“To be nobody but
yourself in a world
which is doing its best day and night to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
― E.E. Cummings

Posted 9 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Marie Anzalone

8 Months Ago

Thanks, Ken. I always appreciate the insight you put into your rviews, which is why it takes me lite.. read more



Reviews

Hands down, floored... I could not stop reading this... This is one of the few pieces I've seen on this site that completely stole my attention. Thank you for writing this.

Posted 4 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Marie Anzalone

4 Months Ago

Thank you, redhors, for taking the time to read such a dificult piece sths one, and leave a meaningf.. read more
redhors

4 Months Ago

You are welcome :) you should be very proud of this piece
You write with such immense passion about Everything! Poetry for you is a means of living, of breathing. You take scenes and create their clamour, you quote thoughts and make them live. You turn life upside down and expose its truths, then - fire people's varying actions into either a pace of safety or intercession. Somehow.

Your writing is held in a careful place but always free to roam. You accept yet question. You analyse yet expose truth for what it is and take apart falsehood. Your vision is panoramic. Your poetry an ancient and modern anthology.

Dear Lord, how I wish I could think and write like you. Always have. Always. x

Posted 8 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Marie Anzalone

8 Months Ago

Dearest Emma: I always appreciate the time and thougtfulness you put into your reviews. You have suc.. read more
Marie Anzalone

8 Months Ago

PS I really loved you anlysis of how you see my style. I dont think anyone has ver done that before,.. read more
Marie Anzalone

8 Months Ago

Sorry for the typos. My computer skips letters while I am typing in IE. It is terrible.
Everything has poetry. Just as everything has painting. It is our experiences that tell us what to believe and it is our beliefs that show us the words.
It takes the eye of an experieced artist to show us what true love in words is. It takes not the guilt but the personality of the true seeing artist to show us what true art in words really is
“To be nobody but
yourself in a world
which is doing its best day and night to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
― E.E. Cummings

Posted 9 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Marie Anzalone

8 Months Ago

Thanks, Ken. I always appreciate the insight you put into your rviews, which is why it takes me lite.. read more

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Added on February 2, 2017
Last Updated on March 20, 2017

Author

Marie Anzalone
Marie Anzalone

Xela, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala



About
Bilingual poet, essayist, novelist, and technical writer working in Central America. "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, .. more..

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