The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

To Be in Love
By Gwendolyn Brooks

     To be in love
Is to touch things with a lighter hand.

In yourself you stretch, you are well.

You look at things
Through his eyes.
     A Cardinal is red.
     A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter, or light spring weather.

His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.

You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.

We he
Shuts a door --
Is not there --
Your arms are water.

And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.

You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.

You remember and covet his mouth,
To touch, to whisper on.

Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!

Oh when to apprize
Is to mesmerize,

To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.


"In this cold month with its holiday for lovers, I offer this poem from Gwendolyn Brooks," writes Mary Karr in Poet's Choice in one of the last issues of The Washington Post Book World. "The granddaughter of a runaway slave, Brooks was anointed into verse when her one-time schoolteacher mother took her to see Langston Hughes, who steered her to modernists like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and e.e. cummings. No doubt their poems influenced her, as did the urban, streetwise Chicago school of writing. The way the speaker below is wholly absorbed by her lover echoes the work of metaphysical poet John Donne; her oddball punctuation recalls Emily Dickinson's poems. But Brooks is her own phylum....the freedom his absence brings is ghastly, but revealing your ardor might reduce the romance to ash. In such a slender string of words, Brooks chronicles the shyness of a schoolgirl crush that paralyzes lovers of every age and gender."

In the morning, Daniel had robotics and Adam had Hebrew school. In the afternoon, we intended to hike a bit at Great Falls, but it was so muddy that we quickly gave up on that idea before someone slid down the rocks and sprained an ankle. So it was a pretty quiet day till late afternoon, when we packed up the tin of potato chips we bought at the Utz factory (a New York Jets tin in honor of the loyalties of the host) and went to the annual Super Bowl party hosted by my oldest friend, Linda, and her husband, Ira. We had to miss it last year because I was sick, and it was bigger than ever -- new enormous screen and surround sound, more people, people's kids older and more attentive, and even more desserts! It was a good game, though I am aggravated that after all the borderline calls that went Pittsburgh's way, the officials didn't rule that last play an incomplete pass and give the Cardinals one more chance.

The game-watching crowd during a commercial break in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLIII.

At any given moment, however, there were between 10 and 20 people in the kitchen and dining room, where the food and drinks were kept. This is the dessert table seen from the living room.

Those who were not interested in the game -- mostly children under 10 and a couple of parents -- hung out in the basement, where the Nadal-Federer Australian Open final match was on a much smaller TV.

Most people stayed upstairs, however, where it was standing-room-only to watch the game. (The top floor was off limits, as the dogs were locked in one room and the parakeets in another.)

The cat, however, was in her customary place atop a perch, ignoring everyone and everything.

And the snowy muddy shoe-and-boot pile was in its customary place by the front door -- well over 100 of them.

Someone had brought many of the giveaway 3-D glasses necessary to watch the Monsters vs. Aliens and SoBe commercials -- which looked terrific. Most of the adults wearing the glasses (including myself) looked dorky, but the kids looked adorable!

Much of the crowd had taken their kids home by the time Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took the stage at halftime. It was a lot of fun to see them, but did Bruce sound like he was in pain, like maybe he threw out his back doing that slide across the stage?

I was chatting with people and didn't see all the ads, but the ones that stood out most were the Doritos "Lucky Day" ad, the Bridgestone Tires "Potato Heads" ad, the Priceline "Talk Like Shatner" ad, and the NBC "LMAO" ad which was much funnier than I've ever known any of those shows to be. We came home during the third quarter so the kids could organize their stuff for school and I could upload the big versions of the above photos -- I promised the hosts that I would get pictures of the people and the shoe pile. My meal included hot wings, cheese and fruit squares, chocolate covered pretzels, and other health foods, but tonight I am just grateful that we did not bake and eat the peanut butter cookie dough that we bought from Daniel's school choir fundraiser, since the batch number on our package has turned up on the corporate web site listing products contaminated with salmonella from that peanut plant in Georgia!

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