debbie millman

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Poetry Tuesday: Gabriel

Gabriel, by Adrienne Rich
From the book The Voice That Is Great Within Us, by Hayden Carruth
Bantam Book, 1970

There are no angels yet
here comes an angel one
shut-off the dark
side of the moon turning to me
and saying: I am the plumbed
serpent the beast
with fangs of fire and a gentle

But he doesn't say that His message
drenches his body
he'd want to kill me
for using words to name him

I sit in the bare apartment
words stream past me poetry
twentieth-century rivers
disturbed surfaces reflecting clouds
reflecting wrinkled neon
but clogged and mostly
nothing alive left
in their depths

The angel is barely
speaking to me
Once in a horn of light
he stood or someone like him
salutations in gold-leaf
ribboning from his lips
Today again the hair streams
to his shoulders
the eyes reflect something
like a lost country or so I think
but the ribbon has reeled itself

He isn't giving
or taking any shit
We glance miserably
across the room at each other

It's true there are moments
closer and closer together
when words stick in my throat
'the art of love'
'the art of words'

I get your message Gabriel
just will you stay looking
straight at me
awhile longer


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