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Best Famous Marilyn Hacker Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Marilyn Hacker poems. This is a select list of the best famous Marilyn Hacker poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Marilyn Hacker poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Marilyn Hacker poems.

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by Marilyn Hacker | |

Exiles

 Her brown falcon perches above the sink
as steaming water forks over my hands.
Below the wrists they shrivel and turn pink.
I am in exile in my own land.
Her half-grown cats scuffle across the floor trailing a slime of blood from where they fed.
I lock the door.
They claw under the door.
I am an exile in my own bed.
Her spotted mongrel, bristling with red mange, sleeps on the threshold of the Third Street bar where I drink brandy as the couples change.
I am in exile where my neighbors are.
On the pavement, cans of ashes burn.
Her green lizard scuttles from the light around torn cardboard charred to glowing fern.
I am in exile in my own sight.
Her blond child sits on the stoop when I come back at night.
Cold hands, blue lids; we both need sleep.
She tells me she is going to die.
I am in exile in my own youth.
Lady of distances, this fire, this water, this earth makes sanctuary where I stand.
Call of your animals and your blond daughter, I am in exile in my own hands.


by Marilyn Hacker | |

Invocation

 This is for Elsa, also known as Liz,
an ample-bosomed gospel singer: five
discrete malignancies in one full breast.
This is for auburn Jacqueline, who is celebrating fifty years alive, one since she finished chemotherapy.
with fireworks on the fifteenth of July.
This is for June, whose words are lean and mean as she is, elucidating our protest.
This is for Lucille, who shines a wide beam for us with her dark cadences.
This is for long-limbed Maxine, astride a horse like conscience.
This is for Aline who taught her lover how to caress the scar.
This is for Eve, who thought of AZT while hopeful poisons pumped into a vein.
This is for Nanette in the Midwest.
This is for Alicia, shaking back dark hair, dancing one-breasted with the Sabbath bride.
This is for Judy on a mountainside, plunging her gloved hands in a glistening hive.
Hilda, Patricia, Gaylord, Emilienne, Tania, Eunice: this is for everyone who marks the distance on a calendar from what's less likely each year to "recur.
" Our saved-for-now lives are life sentences -- which we prefer to the alternative.


by Marilyn Hacker | |

Nearly A Valediction

 You happened to me.
I was happened to like an abandoned building by a bull- dozer, like the van that missed my skull happened a two-inch gash across my chin.
You were as deep down as I've ever been.
You were inside me like my pulse.
A new- born flailing toward maternal heartbeat through the shock of cold and glare: when you were gone, swaddled in strange air I was that alone again, inventing life left after you.
I don't want to remember you as that four o'clock in the morning eight months long after you happened to me like a wrong number at midnight that blew up the phone bill to an astronomical unknown quantity in a foreign currency.
The U.
S.
dollar dived since you happened to me.
You've grown into your skin since then; you've grown into the space you measure with someone you can love back without a caveat.
While I love somebody I learn to live with through the downpulled winter days' routine wakings and sleepings, half-and-half caffeine- assisted mornings, laundry, stock-pots, dust- balls in the hallway, lists instead of longing, trust that what comes next comes after what came first.
She'll never be a story I make up.
You were the one I didn't know where to stop.
If I had blamed you, now I could forgive you, but what made my cold hand, back in prox- imity to your hair, your mouth, your mind, want where it no way ought to be, defined by where it was, and was and was until the whole globed swelling liquefied and spilled through one cheek's nap, a syllable, a tear, was never blame, whatever I wished it were.
You were the weather in my neighborhood.
You were the epic in the episode.
You were the year poised on the equinox.


More great poems below...

by Marilyn Hacker | |

Rune of the Finland Woman

 For Sára Karig

"You are so wise," the reindeer said, "you can bind the winds of the world in a single strand.
"—H.
C.
Andersen, "The Snow Queen" She could bind the world's winds in a single strand.
She could find the world's words in a singing wind.
She could lend a weird will to a mottled hand.
She could wind a willed word from a muddled mind.
She could wend the wild woods on a saddled hind.
She could sound a wellspring with a rowan wand.
She could bind the wolf's wounds in a swaddling band.
She could bind a banned book in a silken skin.
She could spend a world war on invaded land.
She could pound the dry roots to a kind of bread.
She could feed a road gang on invented food.
She could find the spare parts of the severed dead.
She could find the stone limbs in a waste of sand.
She could stand the pit cold with a withered lung.
She could handle bad puns in the slang she learned.
She could dandle foundlings in their mother tongue.
She could plait a child's hair with a fishbone comb.
She could tend a coal fire in the Arctic wind.
She could mend an engine with a sewing pin.
She could warm the dark feet of a dying man.
She could drink the stone soup from a doubtful well.
She could breathe the green stink of a trench latrine.
She could drink a queen's share of important wine.
She could think a few things she would never tell.
She could learn the hand code of the deaf and blind.
She could earn the iron keys of the frozen queen.
She could wander uphill with a drunken friend.
She could bind the world's winds in a single strand.


by Marilyn Hacker | |

The Boy

 It is the boy in me who's looking out
the window, while someone across the street
mends a pillowcase, clouds shift, the gutter spout
pours rain, someone else lights a cigarette?

(Because he flinched, because he didn't whirl
around, face them, because he didn't hurl
the challenge back—"Fascists?"—not "Faggots"—Swine!
he briefly wonders—if he were a girl .
.
.
) He writes a line.
He crosses out a line.
I'll never be a man, but there's a boy crossing out words: the rain, the linen-mender, are all the homework he will do today.
The absence and the priviledge of gender confound in him, soprano, clumsy, frail.
Not neuter—neutral human, and unmarked, the younger brother in the fairy tale except, boys shouted "Jew!" across the park at him when he was coming home from school.
The book that he just read, about the war, the partisans, is less a terrible and thrilling story, more a warning, more a code, and he must puzzle out the code.
He has short hair, a red sweatshirt.
They know something about him—that he should be proud of? That's shameful if it shows? That got you killed in 1942.
In his story, do the partisans have sons? Have grandparents? Is he a Jew more than he is a boy, who'll be a man someday? Someone who'll never be a man looks out the window at the rain he thought might stop.
He reads the sentence he began.
He writes down something that he crosses out.


by Marilyn Hacker | |

Years End

 for Audre Lorde and Sonny Wainwright

Twice in my quickly disappearing forties
someone called while someone I loved and I were
making love to tell me another woman had died of cancer.
Seven years apart, and two different lovers: underneath the numbers, how lives are braided, how those women's death and lives, lived and died, were interleaved also.
Does lip touch on lip a memento mori? Does the blood-thrust nipple against its eager mate recall, through lust, a breast's transformations sometimes are lethal? Now or later, what's the enormous difference? If one day is good, is a day sufficient? Is it fear of death with which I'm so eager to live my life out now and in its possible permutations with the one I love? (Only four days later, she was on a plane headed west across the Atlantic, work-bound.
) Men and women, mortally wounded where we love and nourish, dying at thirty, forty, fifty, not on barricades, but in beds of unfulfilled promise: tell me, senators, what you call abnormal? Each day's obits read as if there's a war on.
Fifty-eight-year-old poet dead of cancer: warrior woman laid down with the other warrior women.
Both times when the telephone rang, I answered, wanting not to, knowing I had to answer, go from two bodies' infinite approach to a crest of pleasure through the disembodied voice from a distance saying one loved body was clay, one wave of mind burst and broken.
Each time we went back to each other's hands and mouths as to a requiem where the chorus sings death with irrelevant and amazing bodily music.