|Lyn Lifshin [pic courtesy of Melusine]|
The No More Apologizing, the No More Little Laughing Blues [excerpt]
the only place I said what I meant
was in poems. That green was like some
huge forbidden flower that grew so
big it couldn’t even fit in the house . . .
you know I pretended,
pretended, pretended, I
couldn’t stop trying to please
the A, the star, the good girl
on the forehead. The spanking
clean haunted half my life.
But the poems had their own life
and mine finally followed
where the poems were growing,
warm paper skin growing
finally in my real bed
until the room stopped spinning for
good the way it used to when I dressed
up in suits and hair spray
pretending to be all those things I
wasn’t: teacher, good girl, lady,
wife . . .
But now when I hear myself laughing
the apologizing laugh, I know what
swallowing those black seeds can
do and I spit them out. Like tobacco.
(something men could always
do) Nothing good grows from the
I’m sorry, sorry, only those dark
branches and they will
get you from inside