Saturday, January 23, 2010

Readings: The mind and the heart plan a trip...


Excerpted here are the central lines of poem entitled “Anna” by Sandra Agricola, from her collection White Mercedes. I find the truth-telling of these lines to be courageous. And heart-wrenchingly painful:


How do you start over?
How did second chance ever become a dignified proposal?
How there is no such thing.
There is second child, second marriage, second family,
second place. After first there is second,
as in another, as in not fresh,
not first. Not the redemptive equivalent of first.
There is first and last, first and former,
as in first and former lover. First and last lover.
There is first, lost, last chance.
And how in all this there is hesitation,
an unreliable engine
this brain—
hesitating and choking up
whenever the mind and heart plan a trip together—
past, past, past,
okay present.

How I want to take the wheel,
how the brain won’t let me.

NOTE: The poem’s title is derived from the poet’s reading of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

NOTE ON THE ILLUSTRATION: The drawing is in pastoils. It has nothing to do with this post, except that it, perhaps, catches a bit the mood of the poem.