18 March 2009

Diane Wakoski

[from Diane Wakoski's The Archaeology of Movies and Books Volume I: Medea the Sorceress, Black Sparrow, 1991]

[excerpt from "Rosenkavalier (Knight of the Rose)"]

. . .

Famous for 15 minutes.
Postmodern fate.
Steel Man offers The Silver Surfer
some of his popcorn, but movie theaters
defraud you: they draw you into a world
which is only light play. No matter how many
times you watch a flick, it is never more
than a woman wearing a black lacy
garter belt over her creamy linen-finish
bond paper thights; never more than
this beautiful woman meeting you at the
train station in Vienna
with her, also white as paper, sweet
dog on a leash, his paws like splayed
garlic bulbs, nails clicking on
the stone floors of the train station;
never more than images which seem
less interesting, each time that you see them.
You leave the theater fat
from the popcorn and thin
from the film which has no angels,
no devils, but is a fraud. "Wait, before you dismiss
it," I hear Maverick calling over my shoulder.

. . .

Medea the Sorceress (The Archaeology of Movies and Books, V. 1)


  1. Natalie Welsh22:27

    I've been doing some studying of Diane Wakoski recently and I love that you chose this poem. It does a great job of displaying the strength of Wakoski's imagery and the passionate ideas she installs behind them: The degrading role of women as well as the tendency of men demanding women to be interesting and that typical black lace, high heeled, perfectly manicured type of distraction. Another of Wakoski's poem, "Belly Dancer" evaluates further the role of woman in society, particularly by criticizing their common insecurities that are forced on them by society. Here is an excerpt that I found particularly meaningful:
    "most of the women frown, or look away, or laugh stiffly.
    They are afraid of these materials and these movements
    in some way.
    The psychologists would say they are afraid of themselves, somehow.
    Perhaps awakening too much desire—
    that their men could never satisfy?
    So they keep themselves laced and buttoned and made up
    in hopes that the framework will keep them stiff enough not to feel
    the whole register.
    In hopes that they will not have to experience that unquenchable
    desire for rhythm and contact."
    Wakoski observes how women feel scared and intimidated into being submissive and reserved, often leading to them being unhappy and unsatisfied. The plots that run through Wakoski's poems make her feminist arguments compelling and convincing.

  2. Thank you, Natalie, for your comments on Wakoski. I am a great fan of her work and insights.