Thursday, April 5, 2007

no escape

Alan Feltus, "Melancolie" (1993)

you took me with such high hopes
your hope of forgetting that we were two
you stripped and stripped believing this was the way of intimacy
your hold on me was filled with desperation
you held us so tightly that neither could breathe
- was this your plan, it changes nothing-
you took pleasure as if it were yours to own
your ecstasy to rip out of me
as if you could plunge a hand into me, take hold of it
as easily as you push yourself into my body

somehow you never knew you had to fail
the pleasure you took could not satisfy
the hunger is something i cannot feed
and so as you crashed roughly downward
wasted and impotent, lost and still all alone
into the never-ending darkness of what i am
you now know the shame of your own being
the clear nakedness of what you are
a shame you have pressed upon me for so long
the shame of not being able to escape the name you gave me

so when you turn away in disgust
sick at the sight of me, your cheeks flushed
with wasted passion and anger
i will know the truth: nausea is internal
i felt it long enough to know its every move inside me
more intimate to me than you will ever be
the revulsion is in you, dying to get out
you look that way at me now because i could not be your escape
you are riveted to yourself, lost
in the shame of not being able to escape your own name

so as you powerlessly shudder in the darkness of the other room
believing that i am the nausea that grips your body
trying to wash the taste of me from your mouth
purge the failed conquest from your every pore
-you were happy to leave your stain on me
but can no longer tolerate the way my scent continues to call you-
i will remain, wrapped in my sheets of otherness, alien and unfathomable to you
infinitely complex and opaque
your rage: that you can never strip me enough so that i am transparent to you
your failure: that only modesty is erotic



Maliha said...

I am so glad your back. This poem is gripping. Wow. Thanks for sharing.

Lawrence of Arabia said...

thank you very much. it is good to be back.

best wishes,

Um Mahtab said...

I've been thinking about your poem since i read it... It hurt to read it! I wanted to comment something, but i can't think of anything other than it's really haunting.

Lawrence of Arabia said...

this was written a few months back and i admit i hesitated publishing it here. i am likewise at a loss for words. there are things which are very difficult to express directly, but which manage to find expression in the indirect voice of a poem, painting, or even the writing of philosophy (which is not anything like direct speech).

the tradition has always treated evil, violence, as a form of is that which lacks existence. how does one speak about nothing? words are hard to find that can do justice (and the question of justice is THE question) to that which degrades existence, wears it down, threatens it and makes us tired. how can one speak with justice? i do not know.

thank you for your message,

koonj said...

powerful. very feminist. very woman. how could you know.