Words or appearances often mask deeper, contradictory currents. Sometimes, as they tangle, each knot becomes an aching triangle.
In the throes of romantic passion, a participant will choose one line of argument over the evidence of another. To call him or her a victim is hardly accurate, no matter the pain, even after the heart and mind conflict.
The poems of Braided Double-Cross arise in such obsession, the white-hot tension rather than in some cool quietude years later – the pursuit of a golden ideal and then falling. Call them love poems if you dare.
What the heart hears and sees may be quite different from what the mind observes and records, much less decides. These may be considered two strands in a braid, into which a third is woven. As for the third? It may be the beloved Other or some Unknown factor or even the undisclosed Rival. Each possibility leads to some distinct tension in the series of overlapping knots.
The poems of Braided Double-Cross move through sexual attraction and passion into obsession, rejection, even betrayal. In the heated accusations and arguments between lovers, the dialogue – reaching into childhood, history, geography, career aspirations, and the future – invokes an absent, silent third participant, a recognition of the inequality emerging in the core relationship itself. Details of confession mount quietly. Truth becomes unbearable. At times a scream is silent. The braid ultimately becomes a whip. As Diane Wakoski has observed, “Rapunzel and the witch were always one / and the same.”
It’s what Ted Berrigan, in the American sonnets this set emulates, called belly-to-belly white heat.
The face of this sorceress narrowed at dusk. As freckles vanished, her skin grew milky and eyes turned strangely firm and heavy. The mass of phone numbers and addresses stamped passion marks on another neck. Sleeping around with all the predictable results so ferociously tangled tresses. She pulled me closer every time somebody came upstairs […]
You brought a half slip to my paper wasp nest. You brought a divorce complicated by my former assistant to my garden path back to the body. You brought such giddy anxiety to my waiting at the train station. You brought a cycle of criticism to my Academy of St. Martin in the wallpaper. You […]
Crawling into faces on the cover, we probably could settle on one place I thought you resided. Crawling into obvious signs of amateurism, I am original by default. Crawling into a lasting monument you will smile on me, please. Crawling into cow skulls and elk vertebrae, speak only what will bring us closer. Crawling into […]
As I happen in your life, you begin to comprehend I’m a maturing apparition. You’re contrary bearings. I’m steadfast mourning. You reconsider talent. I’m so many lost causes. You’re Baltimore’s perfumed night in ancient contexts. I’m hostilities originating in beauty. You’re almost a taxi ride home from the airport. I’m a sentry statue flanked by […]
You touched cast-iron bedposts painted ivory in my unbearably stuffy summer bedroom. You touched limitations of trust, trusting in my black-and-white zone. You touched oil paint on canvas in my storehouse memberships. You touched Wednesday night church fellowships in my graduate school library. You touched the hound I was walking in my water-soluble India ink. […]