waiting on the front porch

she just stood there on the front porch waiting for her will to come and get her she was packed she had a suitcase full of noble intentions she had a map and a straight face hell bent on reinvention she was learning about please and huge humilities then one day she looked around her and everything up til then was showing and she wondered how did i get here without even knowing where i was going? ~ani difranco

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Location: montreal, quebec, Canada


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

poetry thursday
but at first, a disclaimer:

i'm back as bee. *pixie* didn't fit - it is a side of me, but it didn't feel as comfortable as bee does. i find that once i've trod certain ground, it's difficult to return - in this instance, difficult to return to the shores of anonymity. i like being bee; it's not my real name, but it is definitely the nickname that i gave myself, years ago. *pixie*, like the move to the porch, was a bit of a forced hat.

as well, i have changed the template, (obviously), which is why the links are down, and everything is sort of under construction, for the time being. i promise, i'll update as soon as i can figure out the code.

for poetry thursday i wanted to return to a similar, instinctive love of mine.
i woke up with sexton on the brain.
i found her late in the game, in terms of poets, only truly last year - and since then have wanted to voraciously devour every single word she's ever written, soak them in milk like bread, wear them as pendants in my ears, spangle them across my room. i want to fill the bathtub with her poems and lie among them until my skin gives off the scent of her.

i found this poem a while ago, and it is one of my favourite poems by one of my favourite authors. i love this poem so viscerally - it is so sad, so yearning, so beautiful, so uplifting - that i would want the entire world to experience it, if it were possible.

That Day
This is the desk I sit at
and this is the desk where I love you too much
and this is the typewriter that sits before me
where yesterday only your body sat before me
with its shoulders gathered in like a Greek chorus,
with its tongue like a king making up rules as he goes,
with its tongue quite openly like a cat lapping milk,
with its tongue-both of us coiled in its slippery life.
That was yesterday, that day.

That was the day of your tongue,
your tongue that came from your lips,
two openers, half animals, half birds
caught in the doorway of your heart.
That was the day I followed the king's rules,
passing by your red veins and your blue veins,
my hands down the backbone, down quick like a firepole,
hands between legs where you display your inner knowledge,
where diamond mines are buried and come forth to bury,
come forth more sudden than some reconstructed city.
It is complete within seconds, that monument.
The blood runs underground yet brings forth a tower.
A multitude should gather for such an edifice.
For a miracle one stands in line and throws confetti.
Surely the Press is here looking for headlines.
Surely someone should carry a banner on the sidewalk.
If a bridge is constructed doesn't the mayor cut a ribbon?
If a phenomenon arrives shouldn't the Magi come bearing gifts?
Yesterday was the day I bore gifts for your gift
and came from the valley to meet you on the pavement.
That was yesterday, that day.

That was the day of your face,
your face after love, close to the pillow, a lullaby.
Half asleep beside me letting the old fashioned rocker stop,
our breath became one, became a child-breath together,
while my fingers drew little o's on your shut eyes,
while my fingers drew little smiles on your mouth,
while I drew I LOVE YOU on your chest and its drummer
and whispered, "Wake up!" and you mumbled in your sleep,
"Sh. We're driving to Cape Cod. We're heading for the Bourne
Bridge. We're circling around the Borne Circle." Bourne!
Then I knew you in your dream and prayed of our time
that I would be pierced and you would take root in me
and that I might bring forth your born, might bear
the you or the ghost of you in my little household.
Yesterday I did not want to be borrowed
but this is the typewriter that sits before me
and love is where yesterday is at.
for more poetry thursday, go here


Blogger twitches said...

I always loved Sexton, too - there's just something so immediate about her work, you can almost feel her typing away as you read. I always felt that way about her. I also find the progression of her work interesting, the earlier, forced-rhyme stuff vs. her later stuff, which was much more sharp and concise to me. Thanks for posting it!

7:44 p.m.  
Blogger ruby said...

me, too! i have this amazing photo book of the last summer of her life -- these delicious black/white photos of her...i'll send you the reference if you're interested...thanks for the comment you posted on my blog...you make me blush! so glad to have discovered your words!

8:09 p.m.  
Blogger bee said...

twitches~ i totally agree. i love watching the progression of her blossoming into the writer she was at the end of her life - love, (although am saddened, obviously) that as she became less sure of her LIFE, she was more sure of her ART...

ruby~ of course, i'd love the reference, thank you so much. i can't wait. i think black and white photos are so much more gorgeous than colour ones - i have such a thing for old-styled glamour. it's sort of embarassing.
and i'm glad i discovered YOUR words. you've become a phenomenal presence in this blogosphere of mine. :)

9:00 p.m.  
Blogger Jessie said...

Welcome back bee-pixie-bee! ;) I love it that you are so honest about your true BEE self. Sometimes I want to shake things up--my name, blog title, ect, ect...but when it comes down to it I don't want to get rid of all the things that have made me, me.

And as for Sexton....one thing that I love about her (and this poem) is the way she is able to infuse sexuality with maturity and maturity with sexuality. It's effects are stunning.

Thank you also for the comment you left on my blog about writing children's books. I don't think I've ever said that before (or have I?), but you read me like an open book! It's a desire I've been carrying around for quite a few years. Thanks for saying something...it makes it more real, if ya know what I mean.

9:11 p.m.  
Blogger bee said...

jessie~ i am actually (in)famous for constantly changing...i put it up to me being a water sign. i change my answering machine message quasi-daily, my hair style, my screen-name - it keeps things interesting.

and as for making your dream of writing children's books more real - well, why don't you? i think you'd be kickass at it. ;)

9:15 p.m.  
Blogger Superhero Activist said...


The words got me, took hold and shook me to my core. You have a way of succintly capturing just what is on my mind time and time again. Your insight amazes me.

Sexton...love her. We've had this discussion. This poem was so sensual, sexually charged and yet somehow spoke to my sentimentality. The idea that love was yesterday and the typewriter remains today was a snapshot that remains in the album of memories I've collected as of late.

I am glad you're Bee, again.

9:25 p.m.  
Blogger bee said...

superhero~ anytime, sweetheart. you know that.

11:02 p.m.  
Blogger Susannah said...

hello you... Anne Sexton is absolutely one of my passions.... and oh the yearning.... i can relate to this so much right now... x

12:56 a.m.  
Blogger FatCharlatan said...

Thanks so much for sharing this...I hadn't read this before, and I'm...well...in awe, floored, speechless...there's SO much here...so many images, thoughts, feelings...it's so real, so true, so sad.

4:45 a.m.  
Blogger bee said...

susannah~ hello, there. :) i'm really happy to share sexton with you today. i missed you, darling.
oh - have you ever listened to cat powers? she's someone you have to be careful with, (melancholic doesn't even begin to describe) but her music is so taut, and beautiful....

fat charlatan~ hi! i'm so glad to introduce you to this poem...

5:45 a.m.  
Blogger Sea Dream Studio said...

Bee~ Sexton is wonderful and one of my favorites. Thank you for posting this poem.
Also... thanks for reading and commenting on mine! I appreciate the kind words. I often battle with unrealistic expectations. I'm glad my look at this appealed to you.
take care~dale

6:09 a.m.  
Blogger ecm said...

Great poem. I haven't read much Sexton...but I am now inspired to.

7:10 a.m.  
Blogger January said...

Great poem! When I first read Sexton, I devoured her, too. I've even read her two biographies (the one written by her daughter made me cry all the way through).

Always thought she got a bad rap as a confessional poet, not taken as seriously as Lowell, Bishop, and Plath. But I've always gravitated toward her intensity.

And this poem has Massachusetts references that I recognize, which is cool.

Bee, it's nice to meet you, too.

7:29 a.m.  
Blogger Sacred Suzie said...

So many ideas, images, analogies...lovely work Bee.

Thank you for your words on my blog, to know there is someone else with cycling nightmares. I felt so sad to hear about your Mom and how you felt so responsible for her broken toes.

The writer I get lost in is Alice Hoffman. Fiction that has such depth I never want to come out of her stories.

7:38 a.m.  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

Hi, bee! (Yes, you ARE bee!) Some great stuff here! Thanks for this!

7:42 a.m.  
Blogger Egan said...

She's back as Bee. This will make my life much easier. I can't wait for the new template... the last one was très chic. C'est tout pour l'instant.

7:47 a.m.  
Blogger Spiky Zora Jones said...

Yay...your back sweetie. I thought so too, Bee is more you.

Thanks for sharing Sexton. in her poems she seems to unfold before your very eyes. She inspires poets to go beyond the fences that encircle us.

8:47 a.m.  
Blogger bee said...

dale~ unreal expectations i think are part of any writer's life - they examine themselves and te world so carefully, after all...but no problem. i will visit again, for sure.

ecm~ i'm so glad this will get you to read sexton. she is so wonderful.

january~ it doesn't happen very much, because the references i recognize are all mostly from up here, but i think it is so.cool when you can recognize the poem in a more immediate, geographic way.

suzie~ i love alice hoffman. i only read a few, but i will go back and read more. she has such a distinctive style, she reminds me, in a way, of anne tyler, whom i think you might enjoy.

pepek~ yes, i am. :)

egan~ if YOU know anything about templates, can you let me know? i'm hopeless. :)

zora, m'love~ you are so wise. ;)

4:15 p.m.  
Blogger haimavat said...

hi bee! great poem and thanks for leaving nice comment on my lil haiku..

4:59 p.m.  
Blogger bee said...

haimavat~ no problem. thanks for writing it.

5:13 p.m.  
Blogger AscenderRisesAbove said...

anne sexton is wonderful; love all those confessional poets - no one says it like they do. as I recall she knew sylvia plath and wrote a poem about her as well.

5:20 p.m.  
Blogger Madeleine said...

i think i held my breath throughout this poem..(breathe Mad, breathe!). my god, the power of this poem is emmense. what a wonderful, sexy poem and yet the vulnerability and yearning of this voice, was tangible. i can almost smell it.

thanks for introducing me to this poem.

6:29 p.m.  
Blogger bee said...

ascender~ she did. i can't think of the title, but i'll be damned if i won't google it asap.

madeleine~ hello, my dear. (insert beaming here) i am SO glad that you got introduced to this poem. i held my breath when i read it for the first time, too. hell, i do it still. so beautiful.

6:35 p.m.  
Blogger Egan said...

I fiddled with templates un peu. What exactly is it you're trying to do?

9:07 p.m.  
Blogger bee said...

egan~ oh, god. i'd like something more fitting to me - one with titles and with links in the side bar. c'est difficile, non?

thanks for any help you can shoot my way....

9:12 p.m.  
Blogger Alexandra G said...

Its been years since I read Anne Sexton!

9:49 p.m.  
Blogger Deb R said...

What a fabulously sensual poem. Love it! I also loved your description of how you react to Sexton's words. Yum!

5:36 a.m.  
Blogger Scott said...

Excllent stuff, it is not something that I have heard before at all, but great stuff.


12:43 p.m.  
Blogger ruby said...

bee, the book is called "Anne Sexton: The Last Summer" by Arthur Furst...it has really lovely photographs of her and images of her manuscripts.

5:06 p.m.  
Anonymous Clare said...

You've won another convert for Anne Sexton. I'd heard of her, but now am going to search out more. Thank you, Bee.

2:22 a.m.  
Blogger bee said...

alexandra g~ i'm glad that i could oblige. years are far too long to not indulge a bit. :)

deb r~ thank you. it means a lot that you liked my description. i just sort of opened up and let the words flow - this is becoming one of the only places where i can do that with my writing.

scott~ you might not be into poetry, but you should READ HER anyway. i live close enough to the t.dot - i can come make you... ;) (joking...)

ruby~ literally, this week, i am going to find a copy of that book and start reading it. i'll let you know. and thanks so much for the tip. :) can we read it in tandem? (such a flipping geek, i know.)

clare~ no problem!! i have a few more poets up my sleeve that i will crack in the following weeks.

7:24 a.m.  

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