and the milk tip is brimming
and each machine is working
and I will kiss you when
I cut up one dozen new men
and you will die somewhat,
again and again."
— An excerpt from “Again and Again and Again,” Anne Sexton
— ― Alice Munro
As I Was Saying
Old maple leaves barely able to hang on green, go
What will they do in tomorrow’s red dress?
soon to mulch or scatter down the street with
garbage. What is this conversation, this little
Crunch the bone of it to cake flour.
dance of when-we-can-what-we’ll-do? Are we
low, long, reverberations of dialogue about
the real dressed as the mundane? We’ve forgotten
A kind of play?
our native tongue, so speak with fingertips close to lips or
pressed into the small of my back. You whisper in
I want to float with those three in your key,
that breath span between release and reconnect. We are
let them curl under my chin.
closer to it there. That is our conversation.
(“As I Was Saying” appears in Monroe’s chapbook, Something More Like Love.)
Go for a rain walk with towels. Place bets
on puddles we’ve not seen since January
and may never see again. Let’s be serious
for a moment—let’s not! Count buds on maples. Let’s break
the window of the house across the street with our hands.
Let’s climb trees slick black, grab the crow at the top by the tail.
Let’s pray! Let’s not. Let’s beg! Let’s not.
Let’s let each other have our way with each other. Let’s do this again
real soon. Let’s create strange verses. Let’s try to pick ourselves up
off the floor after so much whiskey—so many whiskey kisses.
About Jenn Monroe: Jenn Monroe is executive editor of Eastern Point Press and co-founder and an editor/educator for Eastern Point Lit House. She is the author of Something More Like Love (2012, Finishing Line Press) and her poems have been published in a wide array of literary journals. She lives with her loves in New Hampshire.
See more of her work here: www.thepoetgirl.com
"Nothing much happens in Watteau’s paintings, aside from an endless round of flirtations, a grandly pleasurable buildup to pleasure or to the possibility of pleasure. There is also, however, a confounding or distracting or confusing of amorous signals, so that love’s arrows, far from ever flying straight, do corkscrew curls, ricochet, bounce, float, zigzag in a scattering of patterns that are like noting so much as the diagrams abandoned by a mad scientist on a blackboard. So how are we to understand these paintings that are a never-ending plot of come-ons, importunings, seductions, rejections, equivocations, retreats? What precisely does flirtation mean? I found myself thinking about all this after a friend, standing in the middle of his office heaped high with books, gave me his new one, The Flirt’s Tragedy, a quickening excursion through Victorian and Edwardian fiction, which actually begins in the present, with Milan Kundera’s novel Immortality and the thought that “immortality does not adhere to romantic passion perse but rather to passion’s calculated postponement.” Reading that sentence on the bus back from my friend’s office, I realized that in a sense passion’s calculated postponement is Watteau’s essential subject, so that his paintings become a meditation on the possibilities and impossibilities of love, a meditation on the chance that two people might come together, might for at least a time be turned into one.
Watteau’s paired lovers, locked in their agonizing, delicious indecision, are emblems of the ever-approaching and ever-receding possibility of love. You may argue that Watteau’s paintings of his contemporaries are an exploration of the possibility that love can change the world, and in this sense they are, like many works by Titian and Poussin, responses to love stories from classical mythology. But with Watteau the story is never complete. You try to join your destiny with another’s, but you can’t. Or at least you fear that you can’t. Flirtation becomes for Watteau’s men and women a perpetual process of becoming—a myth for modern times. As the young lovers fritter away their afternoons in the charming gardens, the old romantic love stories are collapsing. And the lover’s gestures—the touching, the looking, the looking away—are a fracturing, an abstracting of love’s grand narratives, a fracturing that shatters the authority of the narrative, creating curiously enigmatic images. What we are witnessing is something like the death of storytelling, or at least the thickening or slowing of storytelling, until the parts of the story—the young man’s arms extended in a near embrace, the young woman’s head turned away in doubt—are so magnified as to refer only to themselves. All of love becomes a sketch, a rehearsal, an episode in an experiment that can never be completed.”
(with thanks for this post to Christopher Calvin-Pollard)
Her Name (by Guy Capecelatro III)
Elise is afraid of the sound of her own name. She’s only been here two months and this morning, on the bus, she thought she heard it called from a car passing. When she turned, a man’s head, black scraggily hair, darted back inside. Of course it wasn’t him but maybe it was someone they once knew. Or were they calling some other name. Lisa perhaps.
“Elise,” she says under her breath, “Lisa, Elise. Lisa.” Could they even see into the bus with the morning sun all glaring across the glass?
She has moved three times this past year. Elise fears the phone and mail. Friendly faces, routine. She thinks of all the things that frighten her as she sweeps the recently shorn red hair into a pile. The peroxide starts to tingle then burn at her scalp. Elise carefully lines the ends up on the bathroom floor then gathers it all in her hand and ties a thin, brown thread around the end. She tapes it to the mirror then steps into the shower.
“Elise,” she says. “Elise.”
— Aimee Bender, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
— William S. Burroughs
— Anne Carson
A guest post from Los Angeles writer Lance Glover ::
the first time it happened was dreamlike, surreal. in fact these many years later she wonders if the whole thing might not have been a fantasy, something to mask the emotional disfigurement of a painful childhood. and yet, any time she encounters the names piz buin or davo lais she becomes transported to a vision from her youth and the small orphanage at the foot of the silvretti alps, where early one spring morning, cold sunlight streaming through tall windows overlooking the peaks, she heard the squeak of a door, quiet footsteps and then felt the sudden warmth of another body in her bed. fabian, a few years older and more world-weary than she, had been flirting with her since his arrival that winter from innsbruck, and it was he who in a moment of boldness took it upon himself to introduce her to the subtleties of physical love – he had been corrupted by a friar at his previous orphanage but bore the scars well, learning even in his violation that there are many expressions of love, some of them quite tender and soulful. and so they coupled every morning for the next two years, becoming their own true family in the absence of any other. she never looked at his face but always out at the mountains as they made love, and in this way convinced herself that there was no sin, that it was actually a simple expression of god’s creation rather than a physical act with another human being. the mountains became her refuge, her place of oneness and solace during the war, and upon retirement she made it a point to locate an apartment with a view of the alps, finding that each morning as she recites her prayers the voice of the mountains comes to her.