Practicing

January 10, 2019

I want to write a love poem for the girls I kissed in seventh grade,
a song for what we did on the floor in the basement

of somebody’s parents’ house, a hymn for what we didn’t say but thought:
That feels good or I like that, when we learned how to open each other’s mouths

how to move our tongues to make somebody moan. We called it practicing, and
one was the boy, and we paired off — maybe six or eight girls — and turned out

the lights and kissed and kissed until we were stoned on kisses, and lifted our
nightgowns or let the straps drop, and, Now you be the boy:

concrete floor, sleeping bag or couch, playroom, game room, train room, laundry.
Linda’s basement was like a boat with booths and portholes

instead of windows. Gloria’s father had a bar downstairs with stools that spun,
plush carpeting. We kissed each other’s throats.

We sucked each other’s breasts, and we left marks, and never spoke of it upstairs
outdoors, in daylight, not once. We did it, and it was

practicing, and slept, sprawled so our legs still locked or crossed, a hand still lost
in someone’s hair . . . and we grew up and hardly mentioned who

the first kiss really was—a girl like us, still sticky with moisturizer we’d
shared in the bathroom. I want to write a song

for that thick silence in the dark, and the first pure thrill of unreluctant desire,
just before we’d made ourselves stop.

Marie Howe

a way of being or thinking

January 10, 2019

This is the truth — I really don’t know how to write a poem. I scribble out 80 percent of what I write. What comes up in a book is just what survives. I want to write in a way that makes me discover something that I don’t know. I think poetry is a way of being or thinking, a way of speaking or thinking out loud as you go.

Marie Howe
Interview with Shivani Singh
Daily Free Press March 16th 2016

life seems long and painful

January 10, 2019

I feel like we, in fact, live more than once, in multitudes. Like every moment, every day, every week, every month, every year. It’s almost forever. I know life seems long and painful sometimes, and short and painful other times. It’s a collection of experiences that only you have and each experience accumulates and is constantly expanding, like the universe. So I encourage you to keep an open mind about the largeness of your life because I’m excited about it and I hope you are too.

Sufjan Stevens
Prospect Park July 18th, 2017

deeply mysterious

January 10, 2019

Poetry survives because it haunts and it haunts because it is simultaneously utterly clear and deeply mysterious; because it cannot be entirely accounted for, it cannot be exhausted.

Louise Glück
American Originality: Essays on Poetry