I almost went to bed
the four white violets
I put in the button-hole
of your green sweater
and how i kissed you then
and you kissed me
shy as though I’d
never been your lover
Does the body lie
moving like this, are these
touches, hairs, wet
soft marble my tongue runs over
lies you are telling me?
Your body is not a word,
it does not lie or
speak truth either.
It is only
here or not here.
Poem by Ewa by Ewa Partum, 1972
Secrecy flows through you,
a different kind of blood.
It’s as if you’ve eaten it
like a bad candy,
taken it into your mouth,
let it melt sweetly on your tongue,
then allowed it to slide down your throat
like the reverse of uttering,
a word dissolved
into its glottals and sibilants,
a slow intake of breath —
And now it’s in you, secrecy.
Ancient and vicious, luscious
as dark velvet.
It blooms in you,
a poppy made of ink.
“The ‘unsayable’ thing at the center of the poem becomes visible to the poet and reader in the same way that dark matter becomes visible to the astrophysicist. You can’t see it, but by measure of its effect on the visible, it can become so precise a silhouette you can almost know it.” —
Rebecca Lindenberg, interviewed for McSweeney’s Books
“We sleep in language, if language does not come to wake us with its strangeness.” —
Robert Kelly, Poetry, 2013
“Then it is true,
true that people no longer await a Savior,
that lovesick girls gouge their own naive eyes
with their knitting needles?” —
Forugh Farrokhzad, “A Visitation at Night.”
“as long as you want” —
Sappho, fragment 45 translated by Anne Carson in If Not, Winter
and then to lie silently
like deer tracks in the
freshly-fallen snow beside
the one you love.
That’s all.” —
Richard Brautigan, Deer Tracks
“You’ve no idea
since I bled.” —
Elisa Griswold, from “Sample”
“she kills me
I divine her” — Georges Bataille, 24 Fragments from Divine Filth: Lost Writings by Georges Bataille (trans. Mark Spitzer)
“And tonight our skin, our bones, that have survived our fathers, will meet … and I will eat you slowly with kisses…” —
Anne Sexton, from Loving the Killer
More and more frequently the edges
of me dissolve and I become
a wish to assimilate the world, including
you, if possible through the skin
like a cool plant’s tricks with oxygen
and live by a harmless green burning.
I would not consume
you or ever
finish, you would still be there
surrounding me, complete
as the air.
“[She] is a woman who has the great and terrible gift of being reborn. The only trouble is, she has to die first.” —
Sylvia Plath, on Lady Lazarus, Plath’s comments on the Ariel poems, from a typescript she prepared for a radio broadcast that was never delivered
“I am too pure for you or anyone.
Hurts me as the world hurts God.” — Sylvia Plath, Fever 103°