lördag 23 januari 2016

"You walked ahead of me", Marie Howe

  Idag har det blivit dags för den första "Poet Laureate" från Förenta staterna. Men jag har gjort ett misstag. Jag trodde att den utvalda, Marie Howe, fortfarande innehade posten i staten New York. Det stämmer inte, hon hade uppdraget mellan 2012 och 2014. Lite surt, eftersom jag har läst in mig på hennes diktsamling The kingdom of ordinary time. I och för sig tillträder inte den nyutnämnda Yusef Komunyakaa förrän i februari.

Marie Howe


  Hyllade poeten Marie Howe (f. 1950) är författare till tre diktsamlingar: The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2009), What the Living Do (1997), and The Good Thief (1988). Hon var också medredaktör till essäsamlingen, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (1994). Hon bor i New York City och undervisar på Sarah Lawrence College , New York University och Columbia University.

My Mother's body, by Marie Howe
(from The kingdom of ordinary time. New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2008.)

Bless my mother’s body, the first song of her beating
heart and her breathing, her voice, which I could dimly hear,

grew louder. From inside her body I heard almost every word she said. Within that girl I drove to the store and back, her feet pressing

the pedals of the blue car, her voice, first gate to the cold sunny mornings, rain, moonlight, snow fall, dogs…

Her kidneys failed, the womb where I once lived is gone.

Her young astonished body pushed me down that long corridor,

and my body hurt her, I know that – 24 years old. I’m old enough to be that girl’s mother, to smooth her hair, to look into her exultant frightened eyes,

her bedsheets stained with chocolate, her heart in constant failure. It’s a girl, someone must have said. She must have kissed me

with her mouth, first grief, first air,

and soon I was drinking her, first food, I was eating my mother

slumped in her wheelchair, one of my brothers pushing it,

across the snowy lawn, her eyes fixed, her face averted.

Bless this body she made, my long legs, her long arms and fingers, our voice in my throat speaking to you know.


  I dikten "Hurry" ges en ögonblicksbild av en mor-dotter-relation och dikten fångar svårigheten i att försöka leva i nuet.

Hurry, by Marie Howe
(from The kingdom of ordinary time. New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2008.)

We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store   
and the gas station and the green market and   
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,   
as she runs along two or three steps behind me   
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.   

Foto: Marco Bozzato

Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?   
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?   
Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,   
Honey I'm sorry I keep saying Hurry—   
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.   

And, Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking   

back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,   
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.


  Flera av Marie Howes dikter är uttryckligen religiösa, även om de inte nödvändigtvis är fromma till karaktären, och jag upplever en [bildmässig] gränslinje mellan dem och mig.

Mary (Reprise), by Marie Howe
(from The kingdom of ordinary time. New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2008.)

What is that book we always see - in the paintings - in her lap?

Her fingers keeping the place of who she was when she looked up?

When I look up: my mother is dead, and my own daughter is calling

from the bathtub, Mom come in and watch me - come in here right now!

No Going Back might be the name of that angel - no more reverie.

Let it be done to me, Mary finally said, and that was the last time, for a long time, that she spoke about the past.

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