Tuesday, November 15, 2005


An excerpt from Each in a Place Apart
by James McMichael

My wife is taking it well enough.
If there's another woman she doesn't want to know.
In LA, where no one knows us and would tell,
I rent a studio above a garage. Linda moves
out of the Y to the front unit of a duplex.
She's at the Ambassador for Bobby Kennedy's
victory party the night I leave. Dumbfoundedness,
one more impossible cortege, but she can come
over now, I can go see her, summer, our walks up the
fireroad in the last light, rabbits and even
deer sometimes across the reservoir on the grassy fans.
We go to the store together. There's time for
movies, now, and double solitaire. We wrestle.
She cuts my hair one Saturday outside the kitchen.

I like this poem because it has a simple, matter-of-fact tone that is not commonly used in poetry. All the speaker has to say of leaving his wife is that she's taking it well enough, as if to stoically say "Eh, whatever" about her. He then goes on to tell the events of his life with the new girl of his affection. Even while describing this, he is very literal, and simply poetically describes what they do together, and how there is now time for them to live their lives together. This poem takes place in a form of almost free-association, bouncing from his wife taking it well enough to his life in LA, and then randomly skipping from one even in which the speaker or his lover are involved in and jumps from one to another. He goes from talking about wrestling with her to her cutting her hair one Saturday. There is a serenity to the poem as a result of the lack of tension and slow-moving, detailed description of the daily activities that are normally omitted from such a short work.


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