Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Tuesday poem #353 : Alice Notley : Secret

Something I don't want anyone to know
having naturally secrets where you hid some thing
under the ground, mine from myself      But are they
only linguistic, something you don't tell
what can the poem say for example or not, Jocko
he was a guy in my class. animals flowers and rocks
spoken of by humans as if mysterious
Are you mad at me? I could list them over
the last seventeen . . . years . . . my eyes hurt.
Ruefully      Some people I dislike I don't tell others
about. I didn't tell you I live alone to act crazy
blistering winds of malfortune keep oh keep arising
my thought comes from nowhere my mis-
shapen mind my mind I hardly recognize in its
abnormality      who recognizes, of course. I'm
being secretive, but all of this comes from a void
Everything's a secret and if you know so
you can act. The blank thought behind all the rules
you don't let yourself know you follow.
You don't want me particularly; I could ap-
prove of your magisterial complicity in how
"we" "do" "things"      Convince me that you secretly . . .
the throes of opportunity . . . complots . . . secretly
And now I would confess some "weakness"
My problem with the confessional: I'm not a
Catholic      took it with her to the grave. Grave Alice
My secret is that I'm in complete control of my-
self; no matter how it seems; and how I do it, is a secret.

Alice Notley has published over forty books of poetry, most recently Certain Magical Acts (Penguin Books) and Eurynome’s Sandals (PURH). For the Ride (also Penguin Books) is forthcoming in 2020. Notley has received many awards including the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Award, the Griffin International Prize, two NEA Grants, the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a lifetime achievement award.  She lives and writes in Paris, France.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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