I caught a little bit of ‘Fresh Air’ on the way to work today. Terry Gross was talking with Marie Howe.
I hated to get out of the car and miss a moment of her reading her poems.
In my office, I drop my things and go immediately to the computer to look her up. I find this excerpt so beautiful, I want to share it with you (posted on the NPR site):
Excerpt: ‘The Kingdom Of Ordinary Time’
After the Movie
My friend Michael and I are walking home arguing about the movie.
He says that he believes a person can love someone
and still be able to murder that person.
I say, No, that’s not love. That’s attachment.
Michael says, No, that’s love. You can love someone, then come to a day
when you’re forced to think “it’s him or me”
think “me” and kill him.
I say, Then it’s not love anymore.
Michael says, It was love up to then though.
I say, Maybe we mean different things by the same word.
Michael says, Humans are complicated: love can exist even in the
I say that what he might mean by love is desire.
Love is not a feeling, I say. And Michael says, Then what is it?
We’re walking along West 16th Street — a clear unclouded night — and I hear my voice
repeating what I used to say to my husband: Love is action, I used to say
Simone Weil says that when you really love you are able to look at
someone you want to eat and not eat them.
Janis Joplin says, take another little piece of my heart now baby.
Meister Eckhart says that as long as we love images we are doomed to
live in purgatory.
Michael and I stand on the corner of 6th Avenue saying goodnight.
I can’t drink enough of the tangerine spritzer I’ve just bought —
again and again I bring the cold can to my mouth and suck the stuff from
the hole the flip top made.
What are you doing tomorrow? Michael says.
But what I think he’s saying is “You are too strict. You are
Then I think, Do I love Michael enough to allow him to think these things
of me even if he’s not thinking them?
Above Manhattan, the moon wanes, and the sky turns clearer and colder.
Although the days, after the solstice, have started to lengthen,
we both know the winter has only begun.
From The Kingdom of Ordinary Time by Marie Howe. Copyright 2008 by Marie Howe. Excerpted by permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Co. Inc.