* Jack Gilbert, unfortunate cats, & the friday influence

Married – Jack Gilbert

I came back from the funeral and crawled
around the apartment, crying hard,
searching for my wife’s hair.
For two months got them from the drain,
from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator,
and off the clothes in the closet.
But after other Japanese women came,
there was no way to be sure which were
hers, and I stopped. A year later,
repotting Michiko’s avocado, I find
a long black hair tangled in the dirt.


For today’s friday influence I present the above poem by Taurus poet Jack Gilbert.

The marvel of this poem is how it has no outright metaphor or simile but rather builds a metaphor out of the details of the life lived, the idea of being ‘married’ made up of peopletangledin the dirt.

To give you an idea of the metaphor-making mind of Jack Gilbert: in a workshop, he spoke once of how workshopping a poem can be like dropping a dead cat on the table.  You can say whatever you want of it, it’s still a dead cat.  You want a live cat.  Damn it.

(the ‘damn it’ is, admittedly, my own)


On the road at the moment.  The reading went great.  Mas later.

Happy tangling,


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