Domestic suburban vignette

“40, and the kids at university,
I will sit at home all day listening to Hinch
and reading Derrida; myself in the mirror,
the perfect picture of bourgeois complacency,
the daze of my life as incomprehensible
as a bar of soap.  —And, of course, I will want
something indefinable and leave my husband to get it …”

40, and the kids at university,
I won’t take shit from anyone
wearing a uniform or wielding a B.A.
who bursts through the door and wants to rape me
(phallogocentrically speaking);
punishment for writing about mirrors
or old photos of my mother.

I’ll write about firemen and policemen,
the axes and truncheons of daily life,
the ease of speech in Newtown cafés,
about the light at the end of poetry
and the bizarre satisfactions of golf;
I’ll write about all those things, like one
who knows their true meaning, when pigs fly.

“And having left him for good, for the thing
I wanted, there will only be that square of light,
the mother of myself that all mirrors are,
bringing more, little, unhappy Mes into the world;
more ghastly women, multiplying like rabbits
before their mirrors: Lacanian, suburban, neurotic …”

I’ll be here, because he’s there, away from him,
nestling in the comfortable poetry of distance
between us: because it’s not just that book
by de Sade my husband taunts me with—
it’s the whole damned city  and its monuments
to poet-soldiers of commerce—I want distance from,
we need to escape from, finally.

Who will circumscribe me, size me up,
push me out, out here, then call it wilderness?
The boiling kettle, boiling over,
tumble-dryer, its revolutions,
this dangerous Sunday supplément, that is me,
that so disturbs them and makes them go limp
and fall over themselves with desire,

sits every morning with the smell of coffee
in front of the window, practising domesticity,
and perfecting it, against every possibility of violence
or dissatisfaction.  It’s an idea that tears down buildings
and won’t allow the city of men to sleep at night.

Originally published in Nocturnal Submissions, Number 1, 1991
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