I spent hours today going through the morass that was my mother’s utility room. It was her junk drawer of rooms. I cannot even begin to tell you of the things that I found, the things that were tucked away in bins and drawers—old sponges that disintegrated upon being touched, a thousand unmatched pot lids, keys of all sizes but unidentifiable, decorations for every occasion, plastic containers and lids, none of which matched . . . I came away utterly spent and smelly.
The moving and sorting continues . . .
if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)
if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaven of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of blackred roses
my father will be(deep like a rose
tall like a rose)
standing near my
(swaying over her
with eyes which are really petals and see
nothing with the face of a poet really which
is a flower and not a face with
This is my beloved my
I’m torn. I really need to decorate and get caught up around here, but I also want to just spend the day on the computer. I have so much to do. Holidays should not be an obligation, but they are.
This is my compromise with myself . . .
the peonies are beyond their deaths.
In here—on our continent of a bed—
we are busy showing each other pictures
of ourselves: mouth to rib, back to belly, palm
to hip. Here is the reciprocal breath, the sanctified
taking—my only chance
All day long I live in my head
and as the house bends toward twilight
you say, See here, you’ve got it all wrong. Lie down. Get a load of our quiet profiles.
the tubers have turned inward,
away from the light.
In here—in our cathedral of a room—
we are busy ridding ourselves
of words, holding our faces
to the mirror. Carrying out
our best directive.
“I was in doubt that I could make something of myself as a writer until I met two people who were very important to me: one was Gaston Lachaise and the other was E. E. Cummings. Cummings I loved, and I love his memory. He did a wonderful imitation of a wood-burning locomotive going from Tiflis to Minsk. He could hear a pin falling in soft dirt at the distance of three miles. Do you remember the story of Cummings’s death? It was September, hot, and Cummings was cutting kindling in the back of his house in New Hampshire. He was sixty-six or -seven or something like that. Marion, his wife, leaned out the window and asked, ‘Cummings, isn’t it frightfully hot to be chopping wood?’ He said, ‘I’m going to stop now, but I’m going to sharpen the ax before I put it up, dear.’ Those were the last words he spoke. At his funeral Marianne Moore gave the eulogy. Marion Cummings had enormous eyes. You could make a place in a book with them. She smoked cigarettes as though they were heavy, and she wore a dark dress with a cigarette hole in it.”