Feb 11, 2013 Blue Monday

Dear readers,

It’s been a long year, and I know some of you are eager to dive back into the deep and bracing waters of Diane Wakoski’s poetry. Our featured writer today has been the featured writer in mid-February going back at least 8 years. Wakoski (b. 1937) is a California native who is now most closely associated with the state of Michigan, where she’s worked and taught for decades. Her books include Coins and Coffins, The George Washington PoemsThe Motorcycle Betrayal Poems, Inside the Blood FactoryThe Emerald City of Las Vegas, and Medea the Sorceress.
Over the years we have commented on many of “Blue Monday’s” features: the wild metaphors and symbols, the repetition, the deep image, the mordant humor. Have we ever mentioned how sexy it is? This is a damn sexy poem! There are tongues, and breast, and lips, and arms, and stomachs, and gushes and rippling and flowers and a black shadow pulse, and “electricity dripping from me like cream.” Last year I said this poem arrives at the “coterminus of love and loss,” and there seems to be some kind of apostrophe (an address to the dead, or to an absent interlocutor) going on. A lover remembered, but remembered in all dimensions: the emotional, the temporal, and also the corporeal. I’ll never figure out what this poem is about. And that’s great. Happy early Valentine’s Day to all! -ed.
BLUE MONDAY
Blue and the heaps of beads poured into her breasts
and clacking together in her elbows;
blue of the silk
that covers lily-town at night;
blue of her teeth
that bite cold toast
and shatter on the streets;
blue of the dyed flower petals with gold stamens
hanging like tongues
over the fence of her dress
at the opera/opals clasped under her lips
and the moon breaking over her head a
gush of blood-red lizards.
Blue Monday. Monday at 3:00 and
Monday at 5. Monday at 7:30 and
Monday at 10:00. Monday passed under the rippling
California fountain. Monday alone
a shark in the cold blue waters.
                You are dead: wound round like a paisley shawl.
I cannot shake you out of the sheets. Your name
is still wedged in every corner of the sofa.
                Monday is the first of the week,
and I think of you all week.
I beg Monday not to come
so that I will not think of you
all week.
You paint my body blue. On the balcony
in the soft muddy night, you paint me
with bat wings and the crystal
the crystal
the crystal
the crystal in your arm cuts away
the night, folds back ebony whale skin
and my face, the blue of new rifles,
and my neck, the blue of Egypt,
and my breasts, the blue of sand,
and my arms, bass-blue,
and my stomach, arsenic;
there is electricity dripping from me like cream;
there is love dripping from me I cannot use–like acacia or
jacaranda–fallen blue and gold flowers, crushed into the street.
                Love passed me in a business suit
and fedora.
His glass cane, hollow and filled with
sharks and whales. . .
He wore black
patent leather shoes
and had a mustache. His hair was so black
it was almost blue.
                “Love,” I said.
“I beg your pardon,” he said.
“Mr. Love,” I said.
“I beg your pardon,” he said.
                So I saw there was no use bothering him on the street.
                Love passed me on the street in a blue
business suit. He was a banker
I could tell.
So blue trains rush by in my sleep.
Blue herons fly overhead.
Blue paints cracks in my
arteries and sends titanium
floating into my bones.
Blue liquid pours down
my poisoned throat and blue veins
rip open my breast. Blue daggers tip
and are juggled on my palms.
Blue death lives in my fingernails.
If I could sing one last song
with water bubbling through my lips
I would sing with my throat torn open,
the blue jugular spouting that black shadow pulse,
and on my lips
I would balance volcanic rock
emptied out of my veins. At last
my children strained out
of my body. At last my blood
solidified and tumbling into the ocean.
It is blue.
It is blue.
It is blue.
-1968
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2 responses to “Feb 11, 2013 Blue Monday

  1. And comments ran like this:
    I started thinking about the use of blue as a religious symbol in our dear poem and ran across this:

    E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.

    Blue Monday.

    The Monday before Lent, spent in dissipation. (German, der blaue Montag.) It is said that dissipation gives everything a blue tinge. Hence “blue” means tipsy. (See BLUEDEVILS.) 1

    “Drink till all is blue.
    Cracking bottles till all is blue.”

    Fraser’s Magazine, xvii. (1838).

    Odd article about Blue Mondays. ….http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-430389/Blue-Monday-The-unhappiest-day-year.html#axzz2KhbgW4xp

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