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Resignation -- Nikki Giovanni

Guest poem sent in by Aseem
(Poem #1623) Resignation
 I love you
   because the earth turns round the sun
   because the North wind blows north
     sometimes
   because the Pope is Catholic
     and most Rabbis Jewish
   because winters flow into springs
     and the air clears after a storm
   because only my love for you
     despite the charms of gravity
     keeps me from falling off this Earth
     into another dimension
 I love you
   because it is the natural order of things

 I love you
   like the habit I picked up in college
     of sleeping through lectures
     or saying I'm sorry
     when I get stopped for speeding
   because I drink a glass of water
     in the morning
     and chain-smoke cigarettes
     all through the day
   because I take my coffee Black
     and my milk with chocolate
   because you keep my feet warm
     though my life a mess
 I love you
   because I don't want it
     any other way.

 I am helpless
   in my love for you
 It makes me so happy
   to hear you call my name
 I am amazed you can resist
   locking me in an echo chamber
   where your voice reverberates
   through the four walls
   sending me into spasmatic ecstasy
 I love you
   because it's been so good
   for so long
   that if I didn't love you
   I'd have to be born again
   and that is not a theological statement
 I am pitiful in my love for you

 The Dells tell me Love
   is so simple
   the thought though of you
   sends indescribably delicious multitudinous
   thrills throughout and through-in my body
 I love you
   because no two snowflakes are alike
   and it is possible
   if you stand tippy-toe
   to walk between the raindrops
 I love you
   because I am afraid of the dark
     and can't sleep in the light
   because I rub my eyes
     when I wake up in the morning
     and find you there
   because you with all your magic powers were
     determined that
 I should love you
   because there was nothing for you but that
 I would love you

 I love you
   because you made me
     want to love you
   more than I love my privacy
     my freedom   my commitments
       and responsibilities
 I love you 'cause I changed my life
   to love you
   because you saw me one friday
     afternoon and decided that I would
 love you
 I love you I love you I love you
-- Nikki Giovanni
[Note: The reference to the Dells in line 47 is to "Love is so simple"
a 1968 song from their album 'There is'. According to Giovanni, the
rhythm of this poem is the rhythm of the song.]

All right, if we have to give in to the Valentine spirit and get all
teary-eyed and maudlin about love, we might as well do it properly.

What I've always loved about Giovanni is her attitude - the deceptive
simplicity of her lines, the tone not only conversational but intimate
- so that reading her is like hearing yourself talk to a friend.

This is a superb example of that. It's not that the lines here are polished
to perfection, it's precisely that they wouldn't be if someone were really
saying this out loud, and what they lack in finesse they more than make up
in energy, in momentum, in sheer street-smartness.  And then of course, just
when you're beginning to run out enthusiasm, there's that one beautiful
little line (because only my love for you / despite the charms of gravity /
keep me from falling off the Earth) that keeps you going.

The other thing I like about this poem is the way Giovanni both expresses
the absoluteness of her love and (refusing to laud it for more than it is)
laughs at herself for it. Love is not a magical communion of souls here; it
is a bad habit that you can't get out of, a necessity, something you're too
used to to even question, much less give up. It is a love that gives you
both intense joy and honest suffering, it is deeply flawed and therefore
deeply personal. And this is not, in Giovanni, a cynical point of view, it
is a warm and real one.

If there's such a thing as being helplessly in love, this is it!

Aseem

[Links]

Biography:
  [broken link] http://pages.ivillage.com/crowyne/nikkibio.html

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