Friday, May 20, 2005

The Antioch Review


In the current issue of The Antioch Review, there is a poem by Alessandra Lynch that is so striking in its voice that I want to share it (vol. 63, no. 2, Spring 2005, p. 316):




MY MOTHER RAISED ME TO BE A COWBOY
by Alessandra Lynch

Cause I was lonesome
for spur, dug
my naked heel
in glass. Cause I needed
clank, got my bones
thin and close to the hard world.

Cause I lost grasp of what was
former smoke, shifty ghost-foots, thready
past, gripped the visible
moon-horn, turned leathern face
to the old-cat sun, clutched
the rope, jerked on the boot and saddled quick.

My cattleprod cramped a shadow.
My gaunt rifle ready for damage.
Got used to sleeping in bad spaces
snowed-in with burlap.
Cause I was odd-eyed, hungered with wolves,
I yowling bristled yellow like prarie.

Cause I ached for the stars, palomino
went lame. Cause I had no thought
to cry home, memorized the swagger,
hip-twist, slow smile. And mostly
my quiet was scorched. And most of my whiskey
drunk fast. Most of my sundowns forgot--

Most of the staredowns stared off--
Most of the town killed to dust--
Most of the world smothered by hats--
Most tongues cut out--I spoke in grunts--
Most of the sky was mine.

Till the low hawk swung down.

2 comments:

Danny said...

"Most of the sky was mine...Till the low hawk swung down."

This, indeed, is a poignant realization from the voice of the character in the poem who thought what she had chosen in her life was meant for her - by embracing the peculiar qualities that she possessed and the circumstances that made her who she was and who she is.

By reading Alessandra Lynch's poem, I remember one of the last poems of Sylvia Plath before she took her own life titled "Ariel".

You are right, Amy, Lynch's poem is strikingly a peculiar voice-deep and surreal.

Josse said...

What an amazing poem. She really caught something raw and alive and true. I was right there with her. Thank's for sharing this with us, Amy!