One Last Poem for Richard
December 24th and we’re through again.
This time for good I know because I didn’t
throw you out — and anyway we waved.
No shoes. No angry doors.
We folded clothes and went
our separate ways.
You left behind that flannel shirt
of yours I liked but remembered to take
your toothbrush. Where are you tonight?
Richard, it’s Christmas Eve again
and old ghost come back home.
I’m sitting by the Christmas tree
wondering where did we go wrong.
Okay, we didn’t work, and all
memories to tell you the truth aren’t good.
But sometimes there were good times.
Love was good. I loved your crooked sleep
beside me and never dreamed afraid.
There should be stars for great wars
like ours. There ought to be awards
and plenty of champagne for the survivors.
After all the years of degradations,
the several holidays of failure,
there should be something
to commemorate the pain.
Someday we’ll forget that great Brazil disaster.
Till then, Richard, I wish you well.
I wish you love affairs and plenty of hot water,
and women kinder than I treated you.
I forget the reason, but I loved you once,
Maybe in this season, drunk
and sentimental, I’m willing to admit
a part of me, crazed and kamikaze,
ripe for anarchy, loves still.
— Sandra Cisneros
I first ran into this particular Sandra Cisnero poem as the epigraph to Junot Diaz's This is How You Lose Her. (I've been mentioning Diaz a lot lately, whoa). Anyway, It looks like like this:
I hope we, readers and writers, never get tired of epigraphs because it's a great place for poems. Obviously, poets dream for their work to stand alone and Cisnero's has no trouble in that department: The House on Mango Street, Women Hollering Creek, Caramelo. As a poem, it's different. It's somewhat chatty yet still manages to impress its reader with packed lines that seem to come from nowhere: "I wish you love affairs and hot water." "-and anyway we waved." Those are my two favorite lines but that's only because I read the epigraph version so many times that I've unfortunately become immune to the power of that stanza.
I'm so glad I got back on the subject of epigraphs. An epigraph is a short quote or something at the beginning of a book that somewhat suggests or alludes to its theme. Here are some great ones:
From: The Women of Brewster Place and other novels
From: Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison.
I hope this makes you all pay a little bit more attention to just right inside the jacket cover! There's some great stuff before you even get to the story.