"Poetry: Serious. Not That Serious." by Lucy Hitz

Poetry: Serious. Not That Serious.

01 November 2012 on Poetry: Serious. Not That Serious.   Tags:


Long distance relationships are the most fun EVER. Highly recommended. That's sarcasm. LDR's test your character, patience, and ability to delay sexual gratification. They leave you feeling deeply lonely one minute, brightly manic the next, and slightly insane altogether. I like to call it the Pendulum Effect—trying to be two places at once and never succeeding at being wholly present anywhere. With this uplifting portrait of the “illness” in mind, I'd like to bring your attention to some poems/excerpts that have helped me cope. I've read a lot of articles and talked to a lot of people, but poetry's magic is that it acknowledges the problem, gives you hope, and also concedes that things might not work out as planned. I've received that kind of layered intelligence nowhere else.

1. For When You Don't Think You're Strong Enough And This Probably Won't Work Out For You Because Other Things Haven't Worked Out For You:

From What I Believe by Michael Blumenthal

I believe that, the older we get,
the weaker the body
but the stronger the soul.

I believe that if you roll over at night
in an empty bed,
the air consoles you.

I believe that no one is spared
the darkness,
and no one gets all of it.

2. For When You Recognize That You Just Need To Chill The Eff Out And Not Create Problems In Your Head That Don't Exist In “Reality”:

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

3. For When You Don't Feel Connected To Or Understood By Your Long Distance Lover (i.e. You're Passing Through Alienation Station, Not To Be Confused With Conjunction Junction):

From Dear Stranger Extant in Memory by the Blue Juniata by Galway Kinnell


Dear stranger
extant in memory by the blue Juniata,
these letters
across space I guess
will be all we will know of one another.

So little of what one is threads itself through the eye
of empty space.

Never mind.
The self is the least of it.
Let our scars fall in love.

4. For When You Need To Be Brave And/Or Need An Optimism Boost:

Marble-Sized Song by Albert Goldbarth

Does she love you? She says yes, but really
how do you know unless you undress that easy assertion,
undoing its petals and laminae, and going in
below all trace of consciousness, into the neuroelectrical
coffer where self-understanding is storaged away,
and then lifting its uttermost molecule out, to study
in its nakedness as it spins
in a clinical light?—the way
we all, in our various individual versions
of this common human urge, go in,
and in, and in, the physicist down
to the string-vibration underlying matter, and
the Appalachia fiddler getting so
(as she puts it) “into my music,” sound becomes
a flesh for her to intimately (“in”-timately)
enter, “its thick and its sweetbreads.”
Is he cheating on you? He says no, and feigns
that he's insulted, but for certainty
you'll need to delicately strip the bark away
and drill, and tweeze, until you can smear a microscope slide
of the pith and can augur the chitterlings
—the way the philosopher can't accept a surface
assumption of truth, but needs to peel back
the fatty sheen of the dermis, soak the cambium layer
into a blow-away foam, and then with pick
and lightbeam helmet, inch by inch begin
spelunking through those splayed-out caverns
under the crust, where gems of cogitation are buried
—the way the diver descends for the pearl,
the miner: in, the archaeologist: in, the therapist: down
the snakier roots of us and in, and in, the way
the lone, leg-pretzeled yogi makes
a glowing bathysphere of worldliness and sends it in,
and further in, tinier and heavier and ever in,
the way the man in the opium den is floating forever,
toward a horizon positioned in the center of the center
of his head. . . . If we could stand beyond the border
of our species and consider us objectively, it might seem
that our purpose in existing is to be a living agency
that balances, or maybe even slows, the universe's
irreversible expansion out, and out . . . and each
of us, a contribution to that task.
My friend John's wife received the news: a “growth,”
a “mass,” on her pituitary, marble-sized, mysterious.
And the primary-care physician said: Yes,
we must go in and in. That couldn't be the final word!
And the second-opinion physician said: Yes,
my sweet-and-shivering-one,
my fingerprint-and-irisprint-uniqueness,
someone's-dearest, you
who said the prayers at Juliette's grave, who drove
all night from Switzerland with your daughter, you
on this irreplaceable day in your irreplaceable skin
in the scumbled light as it crosses the bay in Corpus Christi,
yes in the shadows, yes in the radiance,
yes we must go in and in.

5. For When It's Just Making You Grumpy And/Or You Straight Up Can't Figure Out HOW You Feel:

As If by Magic, Context by Rebecca Wolf

You said you wanted to sit in a pool of light

there are some things about you that I don't like. That,
not which. In a rabbit warren

the broad avenue
begins embattled, the Coleridge figment,
or the dream with the scrambled things
in it always being prime.

Did you ever think that you didn't love?

and the reverse made impossible
demands. The walls inside

feel like they're on fire

with the one I love. During the night

the house cooled.



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