Sept. 19, 2004: THAT DAY (Anne Sexton)

OK, OK, sorry I’m late. Keep in mind, though, that had this e-missive been
sent on time, Sunday would have been yesterday. And Sunday was a perfect
day. Keep that in mind.

I bought this book, "Anne Sexton: Love Poems" on a flyer. The first few
were all right, but when I read this one, it floored me. Which was
embarrassing, because I was on the subway. But this one, and many
subsequent poems in the book, was so damned honest and sexy. The entire
book (published in 1969) is basically about an adulterous affair. And get
this: "Anne Sexton" is an anagram for "Anne Sex Ton!" Can you believe
that?

Anyhoo, I did not fall in love with a married man Sunday, but little
details from the entire day do stick out, little lines that lead
elsewhere, out to other people and other parts of my life, and even out to
weird springs of imagination and introspection. Were I able to capture
THAT DAY the way Sexton does, you could call me a poet, too. For now, just
call me on my tardiness.

Enjoy,

Matt

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,
the 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 Bourne 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.

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