life in a closet

“You’re a bit of a closet hippie,
aren’t you?” she knowingly asked,
and I keenly delighted in the concept.

“Oh yes, I am a closet many things,
dully predictable in my malicious intent
sparing you the embarrassing details,” I confessed.

I am a proudly bitter liberal
who deeply longs for conservative stability
and something approaching warm tradition.

I expound upon Shakespeare
and salivate over unrestrained cummings,
yet miss my heady days reading comic books.

Once deemed a semi-devout Muslim
by some, I harbor devotion to Brighid
while blissfully exalting the tallest of trees.

By day I am a severe academic
too timid to partake of true passion,
yet pen romance novels in the dark of night.

Beneath the skin of this American,
an alcoholic Scotsman sleeps one off
while fatuously dreaming of conquering England.

The bulk of my identity crouches
excitedly in a bare unadorned closet
tight and erect, sniffing musk-scented oils.

The perpetually unknown core of me
screams for attention in throaty whispers
yet trembles that I might actually get caught.

My closet is a palace of fantasies,
perversely composed by Sigmund Freud
while disappointed Jung looks on in despair.

12 thoughts on “life in a closet

    • You are so kind, Allison. I knew there had to be others out there who adore cummings. How can you not? I remember, when I was living in Turkey, I fell in love with the music of a group called Yeni Türkü, and one day, with my Turkish still developing, I was listening to a song from them and thought, wait a second, I know that! They sang “Hiç kimsenin, yağmurun bile, böyle küçük elleri yoktur.” Which is to say, “Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.” I always loved that line, but loved it even more, I think, when I heard it spreading into different cultures.

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      • Oh god you will make me cry with how beautiful this story is about cummings’ words in song… , thank you so much for sharing this. He was perhaps one of the first poets to entrance me, this poem you speak of, ‘somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond’ when he says this line: ‘the snow carefully everywhere descending’ – that line turned everything upside down in my mind about language, how to engage with it, play with and learn the mystery of it, the texture of it, that line is so crushingly disarming, the fragility in his works is the might of them. He was a master of his own expression. Forgive me for going on, and thank you again, George. 

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      • Thank you, Allison. I love reading this–your impressions, your experiences of cummings. Before I was introduced to cummings, my exposure to poetry was Shakespeare and Wordsworth and Browning, and while I still love them all, I never knew how malleable the experience and expression of words could be, how flexible their attachments and attainments. I had become intimidatedly certain that verse required intense structure and tradition, which left me hopelessly distant from the feeling of the words, the sounds. Now, thanks to Yeats and cummings and others, I cannot compose poetry without saying it, hearing it, feeling it. … Well, there I go blethering on. Anyway, thank you, Allison, this has been an immense pleasure. I look forward to reading more of your writing.

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      • Malleable, yes, yes, you say it just precisely. I love reading your experience as well, George. It is a whole new level of depth and expansion to hear about how we come to know poetry, come to open ourselves through it. There was a bravery cummings displayed and, I like to imagine, one we who have been enchanted by him have ventured to sow inside of ourselves. Your works are thorough with feeling, it can be felt in the reader, I promise. Thank you for speaking with me, truly a treat.

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