Friday, September 21, 2007

Coming Up for Air (Patty Larkin)

SONG: Coming Up for Air by Patty Larkin

POEM: Learning to Float by April Lindner

Relax. It's like love. Keep your lips
moist and parted, let your upturned hands
unfold like water lilies, palms exposed.

Breathe deeply, slowly. Forget chlorine
and how the cement bottom was stained
blue so the water looks clear

and Caribbean. Ignore the drowned mosquitoes,
the twigs that gather in the net
of your hair. The sun is your ticket,

your narcotic, blessing your chin,
the floating islands of your knees.
Shut your eyes and give yourself

to the pulsating starfish, purple and red,
that flicker on your inner lids.
Hallucination is part of the process,

like amnesia. Forget how you learned
to swim, forget being told
Don't panic. Don't worry. Let go

of my neck. It's only water. Don't think
unless you're picturing Chagall,
his watercolors of doves and rooftops,

lovers weightless as tissue,
gravity banished, the dissolving voices
of violins and panpipes. The man's hand

circles the woman's wrist so loosely,
what moors her permits her to float,
and she rises past the water's skin,

above verandas and the tossing heads
of willows. Her one link to earth,
his light-almost reluctant-touch, is a rope

unfurling, slipping her past the horizon,
into the cloud-stirring current. This far up,
what can she do but trust he won't let go?

QUOTE: "Marriage is not a love affair. A love affair has to do with immediate personal satisfaction. Marriage is an ordeal; it means yielding, time and again. That’s why it’s a sacrament: you give up your personal simplicity to participate. And you are not giving to the other person; you are giving to the relationship. Because you are not giving to the other person, it is not impoverishing — it is life-building, life-fostering, enriching." ~ Joseph Campbell


  1. this makes me smile, that the first entry i read could be so relevant.... years ago, when i was writing poetry, i wrote one about being a wild mustang with a rope around my neck, wanting it because it let me go out and do my wild things and not feel like i'd go wild altogether; i wanted my husband to hold onto the rope so i had a safe place to come back to. the lovely floating images above make for a different mood, but the sentiment's somewhat the same. -j

  2. Hey, J -

    I love the imagery of your poem as well - floating/flying/wild can be a lovely counterbalance to cradled/tethered/tamed. My marriage has endured for many reasons (one of which is just good old-fashioned luck)... but I do believe R's trust has given me the motivation to self-regulate - "how could I break such a heart?" (Joan Armatrading)...

    Hmmm, now I'm thinking Dar's cover of Fred Eaglesmith's Wilder Than Her could be a fitting blog subject soon - thanks for planting the idea!