Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poem 18: Didion Idiom

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, 
what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. 
What I want and what I fear.  Joan Didion

I'm thinking that men think,
"when in doubt, initiate sex."
I'm looking at a man forever 
in doubt. I see a man 
I've forgiven
again and again
and again.
It means I continually grant
amnesty over boundary disputes.
I want the innocence 
of our legs being loopy together.
I fear I will try to dig up
all the hatchets we buried.
© 2010 by Kathryn Feigal. All rights reserved. 


  1. Are you the narrator in this the piece?

    I wonder why the narrator thinks the first sentence, the generalization about men... that set aside, I can really follow/picture the story and empathize.

    If I were telling the story, I'd want to change the ending from passive to active. "I fear I'll never find the place where I buried all my hatchets." Or something like that... It's punchier... And to me feels more like the continuation of previous theme, whereas the way it is, the hatchet could have been buried conjointly... The common expression being "lets bury the hatchet", something done together. If the narrator is sole person burying it, that he/she is sheathing his/her anger and forgiving every time...

  2. ALESA - Yes, I am projecting myself into this scenario to be the narrator.
    You're wondering about that first sentence?
    It's kind of a flippant cliché. One that I have discussed with a number of my friends over the years. How many men have you known? Or better yet, how many women have you known who are in troubled relationships and talk about this? What I was after here in the last line was the idea of terrible boundaries and one person wanting to dig up the hatchets two people had buried so there would be no possibility of cycling back into an emotionally unintelligent relationship.

  3. I have known some, men who matched the description, and women complaining about it... But proportionately less than people in healthy relationships. But then I'm not a very social person, and I seem to be drawn to exceptional and exceptionally nice people. So my acquaintances don't count.

    I see, yep, that explains it. You certainly have the sentence you want. As I said, I would have used a different sentence... Merely because I would be telling another story. This was an interesting read, and a look into a very different world view. Thanks for sharing!

  4. ALESA - That's pretty impressive that you socialize with such positive people. I think I'm living in the wrong place. There are certain epidemics here that are hard to avoid.

  5. I DO likes me this. Although, truth be told, I'll be pondercating on it for a good long while.

    I'm not sure 'bout the truth of it...for me. Then, again. I've got me serious problems with Truth in general. I keep searching...and coming up empty-handed.

  6. Italicising the verbs makes this piece but I'm not sure about the word 'loopy'. I'm right on the fence. I don't hate it, I don't love it. I'd just like to try out a few alternatives to see if 'loopy' (with its connotations of 'crazy') is really the best word.

  7. I think the loopy legs makes me envision entwined legs and I get exactly what that implies in a relationship... for me it works. The buried hatchets, hmm... a part of me would just as soon hope they remain buried as so many of those would contain my own inadequacies. We as readers definitely bring our own histories to these intimate kinds of words!

  8. JONAS - You and the truth. You've got me wondering now....Are you one of those relative truth bearers?

    JIM - I see what you mean about loopy. I'll pondercate on it, like Jonas. then I'll pondercast it.

    VICKY - I love your reaction to this piece. I can't even call it a proper poem, but I like what you bring to it.

  9. "Are you one of those relative truth bearers?"

    I'm not sure I understand the question.

    What I had in mind was the observation that, no matter how hard I try to be brutally honest with myself, about myself, I keep changing, morphing, evolving/devolving. I've seen cherished beliefs crash and burn. This business of truly knowing the Truth about oneself is a never-ending challenge.

    As for divining the truth about others? It's a matter of faith.

  10. JONAS - That's what I meant. And not just about self realization. I think empty-handed is how I always come up when I try to find the truth in relationship to discernment of other people's motives.

  11. I'm thinking when in doubt don't. It just leads to unnecessary complications, but how do you get to the loopy innocence without it?

  12. I sent an e-mail offering a few more musings.

  13. TAG - Good point!

    JONAS - Thanks.


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