… then it’s time for National Poetry Month!
For the past two years, I have participated in National Poetry Month’s overbearing twin, NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, in which one is expected to perform the excruciating and fantastic and amazing and amazingly painful task of writing a poem a day for thirty days. At the end of both months, I felt both triumphant and, well, comatose. Sadly, I have decided to abandon NaPoWriMo this year in exchange for — well, my own health and sanity. This does not, however, mean that I’m not planning to PoWriMo at some point this summer — it just means that NaPoWriMo is not the WriMo for me this year.
Instead, I’m going to try for a compromise and post a poem I love on this blog every day. Today’s poem comes from Anne Sexton’s All My Pretty Ones, the book we’re currently reading in my Confessional Lit class. I chose this book because I think it shows the full promise of Confessionalism as well as the full danger, and displays the confession as high art — some of Sexton’s poems are crafted like cathedrals, they’re so exquisite and tightly wrought and tall — and as exploitation. The poem I’m posting today is one I often overlook, and one which probably treads the line I mentioned above, but one that struck me today, and that I can’t help but come away loving, despite its flaws — or, rather, for its gorgeous flaws:
For Eleanor Boylan Talking With God
God has a brown voice,
as soft and full as beer.
Eleanor, who is more beautiful than my mother,
is standing in her kitchen talking
and I am breathing in my cigarettes like poison.
She stands in her lemon-colored sun dress
motioning to God with her wet hands
glossy from the washing of egg plates.
She tells him! She tells him like a drunk
who doesn’t need to see to talk.
It’s casual but friendly.
God is as close as the ceiling.
Though no one can ever know,
I don’t think he has a face.
He had a face when I was six and a half.
Now he is large, covering up the sky
like a great resting jellyfish.
When I was eight I thought the dead people
stayed up there like blimps.
Now my chair is as hard as a scarecrow
and outside the summer flies sing like a choir.
Eleanor, before he leaves tell him …
Oh Eleanor, Eleanor,
tell him before death uses you up.