Sunday, October 14, 2007


From the Archives (June 2005)

by Olga Broumas

For years I fantasized pain
driving, driving
me over each threshold
I thought I had, till finally
the joy in my flesh would break
loose with the terrible
strain, and undulate
in great spasmic circles, centered
in cunt and heart. I clung to pain

because, as a drunk
and desperate boy once said, stumbling from the party
into the kitchen and the two
women there, “Pain
is the only reality.” I rolled
on the linoleum with mirth, too close
to his desperation to understand, much less
to help. Years

of that reality. Pain the link
to existence: pinch your own tissue, howl
yourself from sleep. But that night was too soon
after passion
had shocked the marrow alive in my hungry bones. The boy
fled from my laughter
painfully, and I
leaned and touched, leaned
and touched you, mesmerized, woman, stunned

by the tangible
pleasure that gripped my ribs, every time
like a caged beast, bewildered
by this late, this essential heat.

I am a poet who is fascinated by how people process pain, by what we do to be whole despite our sometimes gaping holes. I am also fascinated by the fact that these holes will sometimes show themselves in long, jagged breaths behind long slow licks that feel oh so exquisite that you may just be sucking in your own breath right now and even gasping as I hold you taut and our nerve endings quiver and there we hang suspended ... our lifelines twitching, breathing.

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