Sunday, November 8, 2009


That fist against
the diaphragm
pressing for release
is not a parasitic monster
to be jack-in-the-boxed in,
but the shape of her,
a shadow of him,
knuckling to leap
at halfway

And a true fanatic
of true-blue love
will disown
all tongue-tied parables,
cheek her
and choose instead
to show and spread
a mouth full
of matchsticks
tucked between

You find destruction
You find it

So does he,
so might she,
with all the
crusted consideration
and fleshless discretion
for dots
to be
lied to,

But as carbon breath
freed into its hell cell
of dioxide eyes darkened,
yet unblackened by shame,
love’s skin is as
pure as a
dew of daydreams
kissing its
sulfur blade


The artwork is Klimt's "Danaƫ."
The poem's inspiration was my
re-reading of Henry & June.


Charles Gramlich said...

That last paragraph is some of the best writing I've seen in a long time. Very powerful.

Karen said...

I love Klimt's work and YOURS, Sarah! I'm also glad you included your inspiration for this, or we'd have been wondering...

There are many elements of this I admire, but here are a few:

"And a true fanatic
of true-blue love
will disown
all tongue-tied parables,"
(I love the sound of this)

"You find destruction
You find it
(The form here is excellent! Breaking the lines after each word emphasizes the hopelessness, helplessness, derpravity, and selfishness. That you follow these words with acknowledgement makes them even more powerful.)

"crusted consideration
and fleshless discretion"
(just love the sound)

and finally (well - not finally; I think I could've just quoted the whole)

"love's skin is as
pure as a
dew of daydreams"
(just beautiful!)

For a poem about destruction, this certainly is beautifully written, and taken altogether, all the more devastating for that.

Nevine said...

"And a true fanatic/of true-blue love/will disown/all tongue-tied parables,..." There's a certainty in this statement. "... and choose instead/to show and spread/a mouth full/of matchsticks/tucked between/two/gunpowder/legs" What an image! A lovely piece, Sarah, inspired by a book I read and reread and reread, along with all the other unexpurgated diaries of Nin. I also adore Klimt's art, and I have three of his works on tapestries I bought in Brussels hanging in my house. To say that this piece, then, was a feast for my senses is an understatement. You took me into worlds and dimensions I so enjoy being enveloped within.


K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Your poem is simpatico with the symbolist Klimt...the femme fatale - beautiful, yet dangerous. Those gunpowder legs and the mouthful of matchsticks could be lethal.

This is my favorite stanza:
So does he,
so might she,
with all the
crusted consideration
and fleshless discretion
for dots
to be
lied to,

It's all a game to played out very strategically.

The style here is exceptional - such distinctive form. Love the way you rhyme here and there - sporadically. For me, it builds the structure and gives it literary validity.

As always - impressive!

Sarah Hina said...

Charles, that's an enormous compliment. I truly thank you for it.

Karen, how I've missed your comments during my short time away! Thank you, my friend, for pointing out so many of your favorite lines, and for giving me a warm glow in the process. :)

I deeply appreciated all of your words here, but especially your last point about beauty and destruction. Can one relationship embody both? In reading Nin's diary, I found the answer to be a resounding yes.

Nevine, I would love to see those tapestries! I was trying to think of a potent image to accompany the poem, and then I recalled that I had set this one aside some months ago. I think it's my favorite of Klimt's.

I understand, and share, your fascination with Nin's writing. For all the reasons some might despise her, I find her endlessly magnetic and compelling.

Thank you for your very kind words here. :)

K., first off, it's so wonderful to see you!! I haven't been around lately, and I missed the big reveal. ;) Anyway, I'm very happy to see your lovely, smiling face. :)

She is a femme fatale to many. The interesting part is that she doesn't see herself that way. It's not her intent to destroy. She wants to love purely and passionately, but her world is too entangled for that. Only in her mind does the ideal survive.

Thank you, K! I'm always grateful to have the thoughtful comments from one of my favorite poets. :)

the walking man said...

Never settle and ever be ready to light the fuse. Better to fight then fester. Once the dust settles the crater can be excavated.

Sarah Hina said...

Mark, very well said. As always.

When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.

(I stole that from a song. But still.)

joaquin carvel said...

wow. have to second all that's been said - that second stanza caught my breath and wouldn't let it go - and the last blew it back into my chest in a rush. is there a word past "sensual", more artful than "graphic", and kind of a tryst between "psychological" and "corporeal"? because i think if there is i might know what to call this. besides "amazing".

Sarah Hina said...

Joaquin, now I just need the right word to describe your comments. Let's's early in the morning, so I guess 'awesome' will have to suffice.

Thank you. :) I always look forward to your comments here, and on other blogs. You have a way of seeing, and saying, things that is as extraordinary as your poetry.

Jennifer said...

Sarah, you have me wanting to read Henry and June. Like now.

I LOVE the phrase, "Cheek her pharmaceuticals." I feel like this is a great metaphor for the women's movement in general, and some personal struggles as well. Once, after a particularly horrid event, sedatives were pressed on me. I was like wtf, are they going to make it go away? No? Then what's the point in delaying the going through it part. Oh yeah, I guess it would make me quiet.

A perfect image when linked to the matchstick mouth and the gunpowder legs.

And this one, again, reminds me of Sylvia Plath in its rawness and in your face beauty.

Pitch perfect, as always.

Hope you are well!

Sarah Hina said...

Jennifer, you should definitely read Henry & June. Like NOW. ;)

Thank you again for the humbling comparison to Plath. I actually need to read more of her work. I've read a handful of her most well known poems, and The Bell Jar, but I'd like to explore deeper.

And I'm with you on the pharmaceuticals. There are times, damn it, when we're supposed to writhe and feel pain. To be wholly human. It's not an illness to feel deeply. It's not a character flaw to love that much.

Thanks, Jennifer. I'm always so happy to see you here.

Any chance you'll start blogging again?? :) I hope you've been well, too.

Julie said...

Hi, Sarah. Thank you for your kind words at my place. I'm loving your poem (and looking around). What beautiful work you have. This poem is very powerful. I'm particularly fond of opening and closing stanzas that pack so much strength. Wonderful line breaths. I look forward to reading your novel...and more here at your blog. It's very nice to meet you.

Gerry Boyd said...

powerful, intriguing, and erotic. just loved the imagery in this and the tone. this just drew me in and would not let go. ms. nin would be proud of you. bravo!

Aniket said...

Now am beginning to understand how you write such awesome posts. I know your secret, lady.

The one thing thats always unique in your posts are the adjectives you use and the images you portray. I mean seriously, who can possibly think of writing:

"But as carbon breath
freed into its hell cell
of dioxide eyes darkened"

Now, I've realized that you help your kids doing homework as you write. Right?

So this time you must be helping them out with science and would have said "Oh, Carbon di oxide. Hmm. How can I use it? Okay, Carbon goes with breath. Um. Di oxide... Di oxide. Ah, yes. Di oxide eyes. Perfect!"

This has to be the only explanation. I can't imagine it being done any other way. Otherwise, we'll just have to agree that you're a genius. And you know I can't admit to any such thing in public. :D :D :D

Sarah Hina said...

Julie, I'm so glad that we've connected. Thank you so much for warm and generous words here. It's very nice to meet you, too. :)

Gerry, I'm happy you felt that pull. And thanks for the great compliment here. :) The book was a huge inspiration, and even in re-reading it, I felt that same sense of being swept along.

Aniket, c'mon, you know you wanna....

Definitely NOT a genius. But let's see...I'll settle for smartypants. How's that?

I do have this small, neglected part of my left brain that hangs onto the science and math stuff from school. I even think I may have been a biology major, though that's getting cloudy with age. ;)

Anyway, it pops up every once in awhile, to serve my own very unscientific needs. :P

And thank you for the genius remark. Oh yes, I'm taking your comment as a full admission. :D

Vesper said...

Sarah, after all the others wrote here before me, it's hard to find new words. I agree with all of the above... :-)

Raw - that's a word that comes to my mind, in equal measures attracting and repulsing...

This is high art.