January 23, 2004

No Plot Without Desire

Two poems by kim addonizio, from her recent collection, what is this thing called love

Dear Reader

Tonight I am amazed by all the people making love
while I sit alone in my pajamas in a foreign country
with my dinner of cookies and vodka. And I am amazed
that my own country still exists, though I am not in it
to speak its language or break its drug laws. How astonishing

to realize that I am not the glass being shattered
on the street below, or the laughter that follows it;
I'm not even one of the congregation on my small TV,
getting the Lord's good news, though I can reach
the screen by leaning forward, and touch

the wavering line of each transfigured face. I tell you
I can't get over it sometimes, I still have trouble
believing that an egg deep inside my own body
went and turned into someone else, who right now
is on a tour boat on the river, having forgotten

how she used to hold on to my legs whenever I tried
to leave the room. Right now, somewhere I am not,
the history of the world is being decided,
and the terrible things I'd rather not think of
go on and on without stopping, while I separate

the two halves of another cookie and lick
the creem filling, and pour myself one more
and drink to you, dear reader, amazed
that you are somewhere in the world without me,
listening, trying to hold me in your hands.

'Round Midnight

In the book I'm reading: hard rain,
spike heels on pavement,
a man waiting in a rented room

to draw a women down onto his bed.
She's the wrong women,
she's a car wreck in a silk dress

and he can't wait to touch her.
No plot without desire,
the more desperate the better.

I look up to find that here, too,
it's raining. And now that I'm back
in my own quiet life

I feel like a character who's barely
been imagined yet, just a name
wearing a faded t-shirt,

reaching for her glass of cold wine.
If only the river would surge into the streets,
if only a tree would uproot itself

or the roof fly off in a funnel of black wind.
Such is my life: A minute ago I was happy,
immersed in a book. No I feel a misery

only violence could cure. Now
I have to invent a story
to drag me out into the city,

toward music and grainy light
and the wrong men, I have to discover
what it is I want

and who I'm going to have to hurt to get it.

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