Friday, July 15, 2011


Sophie Cabot Black
As if almost too late we ripped into each other
With whatever we had: mouth, feet, fingers,
Teeth. The resolute tools of two
Lowly carpenters who wandered
In and decided to change what they saw
As longing. The contract was full
Of how we were not to look up as we tore down
To the impossible. To begin again
Is to have no idea where this will go
As we climb around each other
Raising dust. Whole sections in our hands.
To dismantle is not about surrender; the way
In is the way out. As long as
We are here, to do something. Everything.
We give into things all the time, like age, taxes, obnoxious passengers we share our bus seats with:  a life sometimes seems like a series of proclamations announcing a sequence of lines-of-death , principles one will not betray, only to surrender willingly, without a fight. It's less interesting to consider why one abandoned non negotiable positions --firm moral standards in contemporary discussions are fictions we cling to and gauge our success at adhering to them as if we were coaches judging their team's point averages through the season--than the intensity of the abandonment.
Exposing posing is the key here; there is a mania in the groping and tearing, the fingering and gripping, there is the urgent thrust of lust in the rather primal need to remove any pretense of ordering particulars and to make everything and everyone in the room at that moment supine, compliant, equal in a tangle of parts , wires and segments of hard surfaces.  Black works the metaphor with exceptional grace and punch; she does not belabor the image, nor does she make as if this a sort  of dialectic that will offer up a newer, fresher,  wiser synthesis of older ideas after they come into violent conflation; 
 Black here gives us a poem where , rather suddenly, intensely, convincingly the lovers are carpenters, tradesman of a sort digging into the structure that housed the prohibitions against their coming together. Some new will be built, no doubt, something will take the place of the rickety construction that had been there before, but nothing can be built until something else is removed, bluntly, abruptly; the rules of attraction are a plan of action  that denies the grip of the past and ignores the consequences that may come to visit in the future. What matters is the desire to transgress the boundaries, tear out what was useless and explore with each limb and digit what was hidden by the layers of wire, sheet-rock, plaster and nail studs.
to dismantle is not about surrender; the way .In is the way out. As long as
We are here, to do something. Everything.
The prospect of making love, of making something new, both relationship and the likelihood of creating new life, goes only after one becomes willing, in the allure of a desired end, to rid his or her self of things , ideas,  friends and family that they've outgrown. One is in a place to do something, anything, to give themselves to the natural habit of wrecking what was in place, scratching their head sabout what to do now, and then to build frantically. 


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