Monday, November 30, 2009

Marguerite Scott-Copses

No. Final Answer.

A single sun, all else was orbit;
Spanish class was the back of his neck.

He'd have done me such a favor
To grab my wild arms, to make me toss the paintbrush,

the baton, the penning-it-even-now story
I wanted to write in his name's sake.

Had he held my hands, not in love,
but in earnestness, and said, "no,"

"no.... I don't"

I might not have believed in magic,
might not have insisted I could come back

from the next in a series of sad moments,
like the one, in my room, studying for pre-cal,

while we listened to the Smiths,
and drank Italian soda,

the back of my palm casual against his knee,
and how he picked it up, placed it back

in my lap, and mumbled, eyes on the page
"I can't concentrate with you touching me."

How hard to know then, what I still
don't know now, did he ever love me?

And how I still want to disguise that line,
to say it some other way--

Alguna vez me amas?
Que el nunca me amas?

What if I'd been brave enough to ask
yes or no, plain as this poem?

What if I'd been brave enough to listen
The sun, so silent in its sky.


  1. Such an honest poem. The angst hits home for me... "spanish class was the back of his neck"... love that. Sometimes we don't ask the questions because we already know the answer. We see what our heart wants to see, and the sun doesn't set until we are ready. But what if the sun were brave enough to speak?

  2. No answer is an answer, at least of a sort, but it's hardly ever the answer we want. Sometimes it's better not to ask the question.

    You've brilliantly, succinctly captured the flavor of a certain kind of doomed and futile yearning. I can just imagine the hairline at the back of his neck...


  3. Thanks Angie and Matt, for your comments. Much appreciated.

    I love the "doomed and futile yearning" here too. As both of you point out, I also get the feeling that the sun does "speak," and quite early on, but it's just not the answer the narrator wants to hear so she'd rather pretend he's silent. More tragic / romantic! More doomed! And if you already know the answer to the question, not much is gained by asking it. (Unless you're a lawyer.)

    I'd assumed the sun "is" the boy, but just re-read it with the poet / narator as the sun as well. Him not asking her not-asked question.... Kind of dueling silences, which start to get very rowdy. I wonder if Marguerite had that in mind.

  4. "Kind of dueling silences, which start to get very rowdy."

    Well-put! I love that!

  5. I hope it's accurate too! I've just been listening to some of your book. Good stuff.

  6. Wow, thanks guys. All of these ideas about the poem are true. I DID know the answer (and didn't like it), but at times the silence seemed so weighty, so fraught and full, that I could easily convince myself otherwise. To my mind there was a kind of chess match going on--the dueling silences--whether or not there really was. I have yet to seek out "the sun" in the middle of his adult life for further clarification.

  7. @Rose: Thanks so much! I keep meaning to record more, but you know ... real life.

    @Meg: Whenever you're tempted to seek out "the sun," remember Icarus!