For Anne Sexton

Night Working

Your words run rings.
Sound of the telephone 2:30 a.m.
Not asleep, no.
I've stopped trying.
Work the dark shift, brother,
because you don't prefer daylight.
I work the dark seam,
slipping in between the dreams.
It is a middle ground that knows
no bounds and leaves my waking
mind racing.
I lock the door, crawl under
my desk, await your next 
transmission, confession.
There are so many things
not worth having, yet I hold out
my hand in demand.
So many things left unspoken,
I would grow extra ears for 
every last whisper.
And Anne is there above me,
typing out her dark words.
I lie against her bruised legs,
pray for our healing.
Later, she'll swallow the fumes
and leave me behind.
But don't take me instead,
I'll find my way back to bed.
Someone has to keep up
appearances. 

--Collin Kelley, Better To Travel

Comments

Lisa Allender said…
What a nice birthday present, on No.9th, for Anne Sexton.
Lisa Allender said…
should read: Nov.9th
Michelle said…
I particularly like:

"And Anne is there above me,
typing out her dark words.
I lie against her bruised legs,
pray for our healing."
jaxx said…
"work the dark shift, brother" is a stunning line. i need to read more sexton -- thanks for reminding me of her.

i'm afraid of suicidal female poets, a little. too much identification.

unrelated: i wish i didn't have to solve a captcha every damn time i comment on your blog, collin! smooches.
Collin Kelley said…
I know the captcha is a pain in the ass, but if it wasn't for that I'd be overrun with spammers.

This poem is so old. It appeared in Better To Travel in 2003, but I wrote it in 1993 or 94. It's not a great poem, but it does have a few good lines and it wouldn't exist at all without Anne. As I've said before, without her, I'd be nothing.
Anonymous said…
This is one of your poems that always leaves me guessing about who or what its really about. I don't know but it moves me just the same.

GAV

PS -- Is it my imagination or are the word verification captchas on blogger been really weird lately? The one for this is "shove" .
ButtonHole said…
Very very nice, Collin. As usual. You are one talented mutha. LOL
Premium T. said…
"I would grow ears for
every last whisper."

Great stuff.

(And the word verifications have been extra odd/fun these past few weeks!)
Emily A. Benton said…
love it. those last 8 lines are killer.

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