Monday, April 13, 2009

Is Anyone Listening?

This month is National Poetry Month, and I would like to contribute my small part by bringing certain poems here to share with whoever stops by.

Sometimes you stumble upon an arresting image, a compelling metaphor, a memorable phrase, a well-written story (or even--a REALLY interesting word), and make note of it. Sometimes it's good to share these finds with others--you never know when even the most random reference might, for someone, turn out to be particularly meaningful.

In that vein, I would like to highlight a poem I found yesterday morning, written by Charmaine Cadeau, a Canadian poet currently living in Albany, NY. (The word cadeau, in French, means "gift." Merci, Charmaine, for the permission to post your poem here.)


If I could fling
open windows painted
shut or charm your second-hand
jeans into forgetting
the shape of someone
else’s body, I would.
Leeward, the northshore, our street’s
melting, park oaks
curved through icycle glass, always
springtime. We’re surrounded by
cloudacrylic, bare
picture hooks.
The apartment floor’s camber:
breastbone, wishbone. Aerial,
corridors are drenched with burnt
toast, furred thuds of mice
somersaulting from pipes
behind plaster walls.
Air pockets caught in the radiators
cry like small-throated birds room to room.
Living here, we rely on gravity and that backstair
force that leads the body to sleep,
draws smugness,
out of love as though it’s venom.
Toys left overnight on the lawn,
next door, ragstrewn, tumbledown,
but at least a yard. Blocks
away, the laundromat and no one makes
eye contact. Before all the neighbors, before
cycles of yelling and silence, we believed
absolution wasn’t meant to be
bittersweet. Our building’s nocturnal,
gargoyled. I sleep in late. Overcast
days, mud-gray mirrors, we shut ourselves
in like a toy that when
spun opens its fists, is all bright tin petals.
For the hooks, I should paint what a boxer
sees when he’s down, spindrift, hard
riversmooth shapes.[1]

-- Charmaine Cadeau

Ms. Cadeau has stated that her book What You Used to Wear is underscored with the question, "Is anyone listening?" [2]

To which I would answer: Yes. Definitely.

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