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For an Old Girlfriend, Long Dead -- William Logan

Guest poem submitted by Christian T. McCusker :
(Poem #1757) For an Old Girlfriend, Long Dead
 Lying on that blanket, nights on the seventh green--
 in the dry air the faint scent of gasoline,

 nothing above us but the ragged moon,
 nothing between but a whispered soon...

 Well, such was romance in the seventies.
 Watergate and Cambodia, the public lies,

 made our love seem, somehow, more true.
 Of the few things I wanted then, I needed you.

 I remember our last arguments, my angry calls,
 then the long silence, those northern falls

 we drifted toward our newly manufactured lives.
 Does anything else of us survive?

 That day in Paris, perhaps, when you swore
 our crummy hotel was all you were looking for--

 each cobbled Paris street, each dry baguette,
 even the worthless sous nothing you'd forget.

 Outside, a block away, the endless Seine
 flowed roughly, then brightly, then...

 Then nothing. Nothing later went quite that far.
 I remember that Spring. Those breasts. That car.
-- William Logan
(From a recent issue of the New Yorker; I don't have the issue anymore, nor
the date it was published)


This poem, for me, encapsulates the memory of any great romance -- while
Logan's details are specific, everyone that I've shared this with has
related to it and sighed as they read the last stanza. The last line, in
particular, seems to me to be absolutely perfect: up until that line Logan
hadn't mentioned the time of year, her breasts, nor any car. Yet I know
exactly who and when he's talking about, and I miss her just as much as he

The melancholy that I feel on a lazy afternoon thinking about a lost love is
exactly this, is exactly what he describes in this poem.

Christian T.

178 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

James Westbury said...

I love the closing metaphor, here. So simple, so poignant. Life is futility.
We spend our lives trying to make something of ourselves, only to die and be
made nothing of. We spend our lives trying to make a name for ourselves...
but how will we ever know what name we've made when we're dead?

Deepak Srinivasan said...

finally! after a long hiatus a poem that in the very first two lines sucked
me in. in its expression of the pain and desolation of intervening years
between a lost lost and regained!!

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