Adrienne Rich Poems >>
Victory

Something spreading underground won't speak to us
under skin won't declare itself
not all life-forms want dialogue with the
machine-gods in their drama hogging down
the deep bush clear-cutting refugees
from ancient or transient villages into
our opportunistic fervor to search
crazily for a host a lifeboat

Suddenly instead of art we're eyeing
organisms traced and stained on cathedral transparencies
cruel blues embroidered purples succinct yellows
a beautiful tumor

.

I guess you're not alone I fear you're alone
There's, of course, poetry:
awful bridge rising over naked air: I first
took it as just a continuation of the road:
"a masterpiece of engineering
praised, etc." then on the radio:
"incline too steep for ease of, etc."
Drove it nonetheless because I had to
this being how- So this is how
I find you: alive and more

.

As if (how many conditionals must we suffer?)
I'm driving to your side
-an intimate collusion-
packed in the trunk my bag of foils for fencing with pain
glasses of varying spectrum for sun or fog or sun-struck
rain or bitterest night my sack of hidden
poetries, old glue shredding from their spines

my time exposure of the Leonids
over Joshua Tree

As if we're going to win this O because

.

If you have a sister I am not she
nor your mother nor you my daughter
nor are we lovers or any kind of couple
except in the intensive care
of poetry and
death's master plan architecture-in-progress
draft elevations of a black-and-white mosaic dome
the master left on your doorstep
with a white card in black calligraphy:
Make what you will of this
As if leaving purple roses

.

If (how many conditionals must we suffer?)
I tell you a letter from the master
is lying on my own doorstep
glued there with leaves and rain
and I haven't bent to it yet
if I tell you I surmise
he writes differently to me:

Do as you will, you have had your life
many have not

signing it in his olden script:

Meister aus Deutschland

.

In coldest Europe end of that war
frozen domes iron railings frozen stoves lit in the
streets
memory banks of cold

the Nike of Samothrace
on a staircase wings in blazing
backdraft said to me
: : to everyone she met
Displaced, amputated never discount me

Victory
indented in disaster striding
at the head of stairs

for Tory Dent