Tag Archives: Blue Monday

Feb 18, 2014 Blue Monday

Dear readers,

This week’s poet said of last week’s poet, “The one thing that is clear throughout [Kumin’s] substantial body of work is that she believes survival is possible, if only through the proper use of the imagination to retrieve those things which are loved well enough.”

“Use of the imagination to retrieve those things which are loved well enough”: I haven’t seen a better description of Diane Wakoski’s (b. 1937) undertaking in “Blue Monday.” The poem reads like a dream, a dream that keeps churning and churning the subconscious material, and bringing those things loved well enough right up to the surface. Enjoy it! -ed.

BLUE MONDAY

Blue of 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 softy 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 blue 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 paint 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

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

Feb 13, 2012 Blue Monday

Dear readers,
once again we find ourselves together on Valentine’s Day–were you expecting it? Did you forget? Were you lulled into complacency by the general misery that is the month of February? Has the quotidian grind of work-a-while adult existence ground you into a fine, dullish grey powder? Well prepare to be rehydrated by the blue, watery depths of Michigan poet Diane Wakoski’s greatest work, our annual hymn to the coterminus of love and loss. -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

Monday’s Verse, Feb. 15, 2010

Welcome to Monday’s Verse’s annual Valentine’s Day edition, when we celebrate the work of Diane Wakoski, b. 8/3/37. Ms. Wakoski teaches creative writing at Michigan State; she has published numerous volumes of poetry, and one collection of critical essays. Her early work was considered to be part of the short-lived “deep image” school of American poetry, where image and symbol interact in an often stylized and dramatic way. Resonances within the poem itself tend to produce a “sense” of what the poem is doing, as opposed to meaning that stems from narrative, rhyme, or emotional appeal. That seems to be particularly the case in “Blue Monday,” one of the best poems I’ve ever read, in its skillful use of repetition.

Critics have written of Ms. Wakoski’s use of archetype, fantastic images, personae, and a deeply personal mythology, and I think those elements are here, too. Nebulous terrors take the form of sharks swimming in an unlikely place. Love is a banker. Dreamy images of blue trains and blue herons conjure mystery, even as they are among the most sensible of her images. More importantly, here’s what MV readers have had to say about the poem:

“well this makes me want to throw myself into oncoming traffic on valentine’s day…this one is deep.”

“mrs. wakoski rolls repetition down the page in a way that pulls you down with it.  this is nicer left on paper, i think.  it would depend who was reading it for me to so willingly trail after their voice as i do her lines.  i was always taught not to follow strangers, especially ones bearing candy or poetry.  shady folks, so i’m told.”

“Absolutely beautiful. I especially like:

blue of her teeth
that bite cold toast
and shatter on the streets

“That is depressing. This is the first time I’ve read this one. Does the poem change point of view after the first block, or is the narrator talking about different people?”

“I love this poem! The imagery is so poignant. Depressing? I guess so but so true of Mondays when one is fixated on finding love. When we want love it does seem cold and distant–alienating.”

Without further ado, happy Monday. -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

Monday’s Verse, February 14/09

The past two Valentine’s Days I have made short stabs at explicating this Diane Wakoski poem, a MV tradition for about 8-9 years. This year it will speak for itself. Beware, enjoy, and have a great week. -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

Monday’s Verse 2-11-08

Greetings, earthlings.


Diane Wakoski. Who is she? All I know is that, like my dad, she was born in 1937. And like my dad, has had a terrific impact on my life. But unlike my dad, solely through my experience with a singe poem of hers, a poem we’ve been running to celebrate Valentine’s Day in this forum since at least 2001, a poem I’ve called among the best I’ve ever read. It’s a Monday morning and this shit is heavy, so sit back, finish your sudoku, get that 2nd cup of coffee and a handful of Kleenex, and let’s go to town. In years past I’ve said a thing or two about how/why this poem works on me (and recommended reading it aloud), but for now I think I’ll demur and let the tyros have their hearts broken alla prima, and perhaps let the veterans say their piece. Peace? Happy Valentine’s Day. ~mjl






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