Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Language of The Brag By Sharon Olds

This poem has been floating around in my head all day today and I haven't posted it in a couple of years so it's due a rerun.  It's had over 4,000 views, so others must love it, too.  Enjoy! ~Marion

By Sharon Olds

I have wanted excellence in the knife-throw,
I have wanted to use my exceptionally strong and accurate arms
and my straight posture and quick electric muscles
to achieve something at the centre of a crowd,
the blade piercing the bark deep,
the haft slowly and heavily vibrating like the cock.

I have wanted some epic use for my excellent body,
some heroism, some American achievement
beyond the ordinary for my extraordinary self,
magnetic and tensile, I have stood by the sandlot
and watched the boys play.

I have wanted courage, I have thought about fire
and the crossing of waterfalls, I have dragged around

my belly big with cowardice and safely,
my stool black with iron pills,
my huge breasts oozing mucus,
my legs swelling, my hands swelling,
my face swelling and darkening, my hair
falling out, my inner sex
stabbed again and again with terrible pain like a knife.
I have lain down.
I have lain down and sweated and shaken
and passed blood and feces and water and
slowly alone in the centre of a circle I have
passed the new person out
and they have lifted the new person free of the act
and wiped the new person free of that
language of blood like praise all over the body.

I have done what you wanted to do, Walt Whitman,
Allen Ginsberg, I have done this thing,

I and the other women this exceptional
act with the exceptional heroic body,
this giving birth, this glistening verb,
and I am putting my proud American boast
right here with the others.

"The Language of the Brag" is from SATAN SAYS by Sharon Olds.
Copyright © 1980

1 comment:

Gail said...

I enjoyed this poem.

Summer is upon us too. Our salad garden has done well as have the mosquitoes and the ticks with sooo much rain. I hope we continue to have good weather with just the right amount of rain and a little less humidity.