I'm extremely embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of the poet Frederick Seidel. Someone should slap me. The truth is that though my interest are wide, they're only deep in certain areas. That's the price you pay for being a traveler. But anyway, an editor recently sent me a copy of Seidel's collected works. If you care anything for words, do yourself a favor and cop his latest book.
Here's a sample--a piece called October, written after Seidel was asked to pen a poem for every month. This is what a love poem should sound like, not sappy and incredible, but painful and joyous, all in an understated way. It also feels so much like New York. I'm not completely sure why. Read this to your spouse. I did. She loved it. And she's never been anyone's idea of blonde.
It is time to lose your life,
Even if it isn't over.
It is time to say goodbye and try to die.
It is October.
The mellow cello
Allee of trees is almost lost in sweetness and mist
When you take off your watch at sunrise
To lose your life.
You catch the plane.
You land again.
You arrive in the place.
You speak the language.
You will live in a new house,
Even if it is old.
You will live with a new wife,
Even if she is too young.
Your slender new husband will love you.
He will walk the dog in the cold.
He will cook a meal on the stove.
He will bring you your medication in bed.
Dawn at the city flower market downtown.
The vendors have just opened.
The flowers are so fresh.
The restaurants are there to decorate their tables.
Your husband rollerblades past, whizzing,
Making a whirring sound, winged like an angel--
But stops and spins around and skates back
To buy some cut flowers in the early morning frost.
I am buying them for you.
I am buying them for your blond hair at dawn.
I am buying them for your beautiful breasts.
I am buying them for your beautiful heart.
"When you take off your watch at sunrise\To lose your life..." Gorgeous. Negroes need to read more poetry to their children. It would close the achievment gap. Added the title. It's called October