Thursday, April 8, 2010

After the Movie, a poem by Marie Howe.

Post 463 - Marie Howe was born in Rochester, NY in 1950 and grew up there as one of nine children. She didn’t start writing poetry in any serious way until she was 29 years old. She was teaching high school before that. Howe earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Windsor and an MFA from Columbia University. Her debut volume, The Good Thief, selected by Margaret Atwood as winner of the 1987 Open Competition of the National Poetry Series, was published in 1988 by Persea Books. Since then, she's published two more collections, What the Living Do (W. W. Norton, 1998) and The Kingdom of the Ordinary (2008). Her awards include a fellowship at the Bunting Institute, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She's served on the faculty of Tufts University and Dartmouth College. She currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence, New York University, and Columbia University. She lives with her daughter (who is adopted from China) in New York City.

She once said, "Growing up, I loved reading but I had no idea you could be a living person and write poetry."

After the Movie by Marie Howe

My friend Michael and I are walking home arguing about the movie.
He says that he believes a person can love someone
and still be able to murder that person.

I say, No, that's not love. That's attachment.
Michael says, No, that's love. You can love someone, then come to a day

when you're forced to think "it's him or me"
think "me" and kill him.

I say, Then it's not love anymore.
Michael says, It was love up to then though.

I say, Maybe we mean different things by the same word.
Michael says, Humans are complicated: love can exist even in the murderous heart.

I say that what he might mean by love is desire.
Love is not a feeling, I say. And Michael says, Then what is it?

We're walking along West 16th Street—a clear unclouded night—and I hear my voice repeating what I used to say to my husband: Love is action, I used to say to him.

Simone Weil says that when you really love you are able to look at someone you want to eat and not eat them.

Janis Joplin says, take another little piece of my heart now baby.

Meister Eckhardt says that as long as we love images we are doomed to live in purgatory.

Michael and I stand on the corner of 6th Avenue saying goodnight.
I can't drink enough of the tangerine spritzer I've just bought —

again and again I bring the cold can to my mouth and suck the stuff from the hole the flip top made.

What are you doing tomorrow? Michael says.
But what I think he's saying is "You are too strict. You are a nun."

Then I think, Do I love Michael enough to allow him to think these things of me even if he's not thinking them?

Above Manhattan, the moon wanes, and the sky turns clearer and colder.
Although the days, after the solstice, have started to lengthen,

we both know the winter has only begun.

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