Sunday, August 21, 2016

Loneliness of a Long Poem

As witty as she’s pretty, she’s who every lady
in a gentlewoman’s novel wants to be. Parsing out
the delicacies of her watchful sensibilities and luck,

without of course in any way broadcasting her advance,
she’s found she is the central presence with whom
every man must dance. She chooses confidants

and confidences with an almost playful sense
of mild unguarded ease – a touch of tease –
and yet a breath, though never taken heavily,

that something more than nothing may well be
at stake. She is the cake and they are eating it
and she is eating it: there always will be more. Ears

she favors with her secrets are both known to be
deserving, and deserving. Perhaps this sounds
self-serving: as if her main pursuit resides in publicly

performing her appeal: ministering only to the very
knowing, deeper minds, more handsome brows –
those gentlemen who have a feel for depth and value

and who can’t not fall in love with every ripple
of her surreptitious sense of the absurd – so fresh
with laughter! – touched with nearly negligible sighs.

This is neither solipsistic nor unwise. Wondrous things
get said in bed with human treats as fully formed
and sweet as she. Play it to the hilt, my dear: release

your talent for the balances of volupté and every
elegant, sharp, brilliant bit of evidence you have  
amassed of what you’re more than certain

is persuasive re: the wars of soul and class
in Proust. Perhaps assume a looser stance

onstage today. Love the play. Be the play.


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