29 March 2012

RIP Adrienne Rich

Hearing early this morning the news of Adrienne Rich's death brought me immediately back to the blue skies and green expanses of grass and my best friend Karen and our earnest, blooming feminism beliefs. Humanism is what it's always been. And Rich, so gracefully, was a humanist poet. But it was always her love poems I loved best.

From 21 Love Poems


I come home from you through the early light of spring
flashing off ordinary walls, the Pez Dorado,
the Discount Wares, the shoe-store… I’m lugging my sack
of groceries, I dash for the elevator
where a man, taut, elderly, carefully composed
lets the door almost close on me.—For god’s sake hold it!
I croak at him.—Hysterical,--he breathes my way.
I let myself into the kitchen, unload my bundles,
make coffee, open the window, put on Nina Simone
singing Here comes the sun… I open the mail,
drinking delicious coffee, delicious music,
my body still both light and heavy with you. The mail
lets fall a Xerox of something written by a man
aged 27, a hostage, tortured in prison:
My genitals have been the object of such a sadistic display
they keep me constantly awake with the pain…
Do whatever you can to survive.
You know, I think that men love wars…
And my incurable anger, my unmendable wounds
break open further with tears, I am crying helplessly,
and they still control the world, and you are not in my arms.

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