Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rich Quarto : Poem In Your Post

June 8, 2009

Call me Sebastian, arrows sticking all over
The map of my battlefields. Marathon.
Wounded Knee. Vicksburg. Jericho.
Battle of the Overpass.
Victories turned inside out
But no surrender
Cemeteries of remorse
The beaten champion sobbing
Ghosts move in to shield his tears

No one writes lyric on a battlefield
On a map stuck with arrows
But I think I can do it if I just lurk
In my tent pretending to
Refeather my arrows
I'll be right there! I yell
When they come with their crossbows and white phosphorus
To recruit me
Crouching over my drafts
lest they find me out
and shoot me

Press your cheek against my medals, listen through them to my heart
Doctor, can you see me if I'm naked?
Spent longer in this place than in the war
No one comes but rarely and I don't know what for
Went to that desert as many did before
Farewell and believing and hope not to die
Hope not to die and what was the life
Did we think was awaiting after
Lay down your stethoscope back off on your skills
Doctor can you see me when I'm naked?

I'll tell you about the mermaid
Sheds swimmable tail Gets legs for dancing
Sings like the sea with a choked throat
Knives straight up her spine
Lancing every step
There is a price
There is a price
For every gift
And all advice 

                    - Adrienne Rich
Possibly the last installment in my brief, Rich interval.  So much of the mythic meets the modern here; I hope it leaves you in wonder, as it did me.

1 comment:

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I"ve read *very* little Adrienne Rich and not in years, but I found much that resonated in this poem, Laurie. Thanks for posting so faithfully and bringing a little poetry into our lives, one Saturday at a time.

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