Saturday, June 2, 2012


Muriel Rukeyser



Yes, we were looking at each other
Yes, we knew each other very well
Yes, we had made love with each other many times
Yes, we had heard music together
Yes, we had gone to the sea together
Yes, we had cooked and eaten together
Yes, we had laughed often day and night
Yes, we fought violence and knew violence
Yes, we hated the inner and outer oppression
Yes, that day we were looking at each other
Yes, we saw the sunlight pouring down
Yes, the corner of the table was between us
Yes, bread and flowers were on the table
Yes, our eyes saw each other's eyes
Yes, our mouths saw each other's mouth
Yes, our breasts saw each other's breasts
Yes, our bodies entire saw each other
Yes, it was beginning in each
Yes, it threw waves across our lives
Yes, the pulses were becoming very strong
Yes, the beating became very delicate
Yes, the calling----the arousal
Yes, the arriving----the coming
Yes, there it was for both entire
Yes, we were looking at each other

from ~

~ gay and lesbian poems ~
selected and edited by J.D. McClatchy
(Everyman 2001)


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Fine, fine poem. Thanks, Bob.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Just when you may need one (like today), there's a Muriel Rukeyser poem, Don. Glad you like.

all's well, Bob

Lally said...

Do you know her cockroach poem? One of her most pointedly universal I think.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

M ~

Oh yes, from MR's: The Gates, "St. Roach", much admired all that book when it appeared, and still do.

For a country boy, I've only seen a cockroach twice in my life: once behind a bureau in Santa Fe, and once in a bathroom in the Algonquin Hotel (how I got in that room is another story).

For everyone, let's show this sort of other love poem (I trust the line breaks will behave?):


For that I never knew you, I only learned to dread you,
for that I never touched you, they told me you are filth,
they showed me by every action to despise your kind;
for that I saw my people making war on you,
I could not tell you apart, one from another,
for that in childhood I lived in places clear of you,
for that all the people I knew met you by
crushing you, stamping you to death, they poured boiling
water on you, they flushed you down,
for that I could not tell one from another
only that you were dark, fast on your feet, and slender.
Not like me.
For that I did not know your poems
And that I do not know any of your sayings
And that I cannot speak or read your language
And that I do not sing your songs
And that I do not teach our children
to eat your food
or know your poems
or sing your songs
But that we say you are filthing our food
But that we know you not at all.

Yesterday I looked at one of you for the first time.
You were lighter than the others in color, that was
neither good nor bad.

I was really looking for the first time.
You seemed troubled and witty.

Today I touched one of you for the first time.
You were startled, you ran, you fled away
Fast as a dancer, light, strange and lovely to the touch.
I reach, I touch, I begin to know you.

dfleischer said...

She spoke truth to power, Bob, again and again. One of my most loved of all poets ( and you another).Thanks for Rukeyser and a reminder on the new LGBT anthology of poetry. XO

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Why we go hand in hand, Donna.

Just through her photographs, never mind the poems, one watches the life blood of Muriel Rukeyser.

all's well, Bob