The Hour After
By Sharon Olds
The hour after, when we gaze and doze
and gaze, feels like the central hour
of my life -- the joy before it may be
too enormous to be carried out
into the world. Sometimes we tell each other
things: I want to go inside
your eyes, and dwell. Last night, you held
your eyes open, long into sleep, so I could
swim and swim, I feel filled, still, with that
circumnavigation. I thank you
for your seeds, we smile, I am honored to receive them.
I love for you to know me, I whisper,
to see that knowing deep in your gaze.
Every time we open our eyes
we are married, all the time we doze
we are married -- and every minute of the day
apart, married as if it could be physically demonstrated.
Early in the hour of knowing,
I had exclaimed, suddenly, kneeling between
your legs, and looking up, a moment,
It's like affection! It's very much like
extreme affection! And you'd smiled and softly
laughed. Who knows what it is like,
the play of love, foreplay, gazeplay,
dozeplay, and the play at the center like precious
work. It is like making something --
making what's there visible
and audible. We cry out, we sing,
and then for an hour it is there in the room,
the song. I look into your eyes as if I had been
parted from you for a long time or
were to be parted from you for an endless time.
That's right, I said snowy. Never mind that it's in the 40s and will melt as soon as it stops coming down so hard that it doesn't have time to melt before adhering to the cars and the wood of the deck. Yesterday it was 70 degrees and there were rainbows; today we have a snow shower.
I keep rereading The Unswept Room and I keep crying. eyebrowofdoom pointed out that it is probably a mistake to think of Olds' poetry as strictly autobiographical, even though it is overwhelmingly in the first person, overwhelmingly consistent and overwhelmingly in line with the known factual details of her life -- in this volume she points out the ways in which she plays with reality, for instance in a poem in which her adult daughter, visiting a concentration camp, calls her mother in a rage and says furiously that the poet claimed in a poem that she was a Jew and she isn't so how could she do that -- so we get, on the one hand, the fiction of her Jewishness, yet on the other hand we get the provable fact of her poem about feeling like a survivor, which is in one of Olds' previous books.
I first read Sharon Olds my sophomore year of college in a women's poetry class that changed my life on so many levels...so I have literally been reading her for half my life, I have known the narrator of the poems for half my life. Reading about her husband falling out of love and leaving her is as upsetting as if it had happened to one of my friends. Worse even, because I know more intimate details about the narrator of these poems than I know about most of my friends.
Am now officially working as a news writer for Trek Nation. This will severely curtail my play time, I'm afraid, though it will greatly assist my financial situation so it can't be helped. If I owe you notes or betas or comments or fic, I apologize in advance, but April is going to be a very poor month for me for communication!
Susan Faludi in the Times on how Bush betrays the cowboy charter he apes...
Frank Rich on the media war and showbiz standards...
Maureen Dowd utters the following brilliant lines: "We're stunned to discover that the local population treats our well-armed high-tech troops like invaders. Why is all this a surprise again? I know our hawks avoided serving in Vietnam, but didn't they, like, read about it?"
From lunasv, the wonderful news: if I were a David Bowie film character, I would get to make love with Catherine Deneuve!