Excerpts for Marriage : A Sentence


A vision of a wifely woman one half of her face black the other half red. O sorcerer wife tell me what I am to become. I who am black & blue. I am the ayami of your ancestors, she says, I love you, I have no husband now you will be a consort to me & I will teach you husbandly sorcerer things. The assistant spirits are here to help you heal, she says, you are going to do this be my witchy husband & if you won't obey I'll kill you. I am terrified. I sleep with her like my own wife. She is a wife I think a wife. She lives on the mountain in a hut I stay down here. Sometimes she this wife comes to me under the aspect of an old woman, sometimes a wolf & she I think a wife is terrible to look at. Huge body. Damaged teeth. Matted hair. Sometimes she comes as a winged tiger. I mount her maw fearfully & she takes me to different countries. I see a country of wizened old men & a country of cackling old women. I see a country of young struggling arguing to be married. I see men loving men I see women loving women. I see men changing into women to love women women changing into men to love men. I see the end of lawful marriage time. She gives me the jarga (the panther), the doonto (the bear) & the amba (the tiger). They come to me in my dreams, large & panting. They help me in my travel in my husbandly duty. O what a wife my wifely ayami who makes them come to me, it is she a wife I think who speaks through my mouth, it is she the wife who inhabits my belly & the bellies of the magical animals. She who works for us & with us it is she again a powerful wife, it is she my wifely sorcerly ayami, a terrifying sexual motion.

—sexual motion

mystic songs
split the head
(implicit passion)
but bind all two—
of thee, nimble-footed-one
with eye of dawn, tiger tooth—
  humble consort foresworn
   whoever ye be
with me or another
   brother to brother to sister
         to lover

& mount a text toward
golden ceremony
illegal tho it be
as you mount your mate
  where spheres materialize
abode: abyss: afterimage
  no whim of angle
   initiation's mark,
    or beautiful pointillist
lingers like painting
save respite of sex's sense
    of sentience,

of contract
half & half & half of—
  plus all married sentences


One said once an overt thing a relevant thing & the first time heard it was not "parents" it was not "couple" even, it was not even curing or a problem. Even then or even everyone seemed to live in one bed which took up a living room evenly. Suppose the marriage bed suppose it bled. The infant bows her head to ponder. A large head upon a child's intellect whose shoulder sprouts wings is hers. Winds inside a mythic winsome shoulder, hers. Wonderful to be winged in poetry, Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. What was a mind albeit true. Rue, hers. Ride fine bird of prey or perhaps albatross beckons you. Assuage arrange mirage forage that would be a storybook marriage. Phoenix for these married ones, auto da fe. Were their little rooms inside with beds in them in this one mind with eyes for windows just for pleasure & shudder? Wonder what is theirs. What does "theirs" mean? Mess though a wooden scent of pine drawer as in don't mess around in their drawers. Tables with humanoid legs & scent of love & mix in random familial tears. Hand & hand with marriage go blessed spring-offs. Something in this one whose nature is curious. Mysterious love instruments in another. Danger. And needles for a diabetic confused with drama with discretion at the bedside of valour. Or, you might say, a winged prickly hope. Panties from Pan, god of Panic. And was a child's imagination & pandemonium to go hand upon hand with marriage? That could be strange. Spherical bodies in the wondrous marriage bed. Jungle of sheets & pained reigning flesh. Pillows & eyes for breathing. Mating calls. A bird in the bed? Marriage is a tangible mating place surely. That it manufactures noble criterion or psalms of faith in its hardship & sober fruition is good is strange. My hands exist because of marriage, deft fingers because of marriage. Toes prehensile because of marriage. Groomed hair shiny: marriage. Caustic of head, marriage makes you that way. Because of marriage the moon rises. To come to life knees elbows ears eyes. Come to life & negotiate genetic ankles. Tongue touches roof of mouth to come to life & speech because of marriage. Something walks in cytoplasmic marriage & makes you that way. Someone walks away from cataclysmic marriage & makes you that way. Someone walks toward calm marriage & then away from are you then made a particular calm way or not? Walk up a flight & enter in a calm marriage, fly into conciliatory arms because of marriage. One lives in such a temple of love to feel restless mystical violent obsessive curious dizzy deranged hungry out of place adaptable tender timorous homespun incomplete tempestuous calm & strange of body trembling because of marriage.

—solipsistic, anatomical

—my love
—woolen blanket's harsh
—love harsh too?
—no, gentle whether it lasteth or not
—old one in the quilt see her handwrought stitch
—ancients arriving soon
—is there room?
—you mean do we fit in there in them in the tomb with them?

—kinship's touch away

Copyright © 2000 Ann Waldman. All rights reserved.
ISBN: 0-14-05-8922-8