Monday, May 28, 2012

How Reading Sharon Olds' “The Father” Poems Made Me Feel



“I put my arms around a trunk and squeezed it,
Then I lay down on my father’s grave....
When I kissed the stone it was not enough,
When I licked it my tongue went dry a moment, I
Ate his dust, I tasted my dirt host.” -- From The Father
Such wild and passionate exaggeration! 
The way this poet makes oceans out of tears, 
volcanoes out of pimples, 
entire solar systems out of self-immolations, 
writing herself into the burning center, 
shining so extremely, 
a star on the verge of collapse,
pulling her father and mother--
those lifeless planets stuck
in her gravity. 

The mass of her grief astounds me.
It is light years thick with planets of sorrow, 
not theirs--but her own unquenchable agony. 

It’s what draws me closer, turning the pages.

At first her pain, though magnetic, seems unimaginable, 
but then becomes visible, more and more real 
until it becomes my own. 

With every line, she peals away
my peach skin, cuts me open, drops me pitted 
into her dark cup, 
into its radiant sludge and I feel
so delicate, floating so tenderly 
that she could eat me with her gums.

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