Ekphrastics, take two

In the comments to yesterday’s post on ekphrastic poetry, a reader asked if I’d ever written a poem about a poem. Self-referential creatures that we are, poets often write about poems, and I’m no exception. So here in order, are the poem and the poem referencing the poem:


Now that I reread this poem, I don’t want to put mine in the same post.  You can read mine here, and if you like, you can go read (or listen to) the amazing Tony Hoagland poem it references from its more illustrious home on the web, where it deserves to be.

Stuck in the Middle

When we get back from the reading,
I look for the poem
Tony Hoagland didn’t read
and go in to read it to Larry

but he’s watching the scene with the knife
and the duct tape from Reservoir Dogs,
grinning and eating pistachios.
I have to look away.

It’s the wrong moment for “Lucky,”
or for any poem recitation
I can think of, though the calculated,
casual laceration on the screen

is a kind of aria of American violence,
part of our national fabric, like lynching
and invasion and prize fights

and men have an appetite for it
and watch it with pleasure,
just as women love the pinch
and pitch of stilettos,
the beauty and pain
part of one package.

And because I have my own
dark pleasures
I simply turn and wait for another moment,
when my husband’s eyes won’t be alight
with animal pleasure

and he’ll be open to a more subtle
beauty, as he often is,
as we often both are,
as we falter together
along the catwalk
of consciousness.

Meryl Natchez

5 thoughts on “Ekphrastics, take two

  1. Oh, how I loved his reading of his poem, adding and dropping words as he pleased. Of course I thought of my mother wasted yet somehow still beautiful. Knowing we would lose each other, she the brave one, was unafraid. But boy I sure the hell was not. “when death was young, and bleaching bones were few” by Millay are still my favorite words of death.
    I liked the play between you and Larry and your patience to wait until the right time.
    what close strangers we are in this life we have been given.

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