“Miss Jacklyn Analyzes Love” by Arden Levine

Arden Levine

MISS JACKLYN ANALYZES LOVE

I asked her for a poem. She made one that went:
It was night.
The love went by.

My young author knew love
was a good word. At times,
love spent time in her house.

I told her: That’s lovely.

So the poem was lovely and
the word was lovely. Love,
also, maybe, was lovely.

But, long still would she wait
for an understanding
of adverbs, –ly words that live leeward

that protect love and other words
from wind damage, from collapsing
if they otherwise held up a sentence alone.

What does love do when it goes by?
My young author had no knowledge
of Paul Revere when she wrote the poem.

But, for my part, I picture love galloping
through a town square late at night.
(Not galloping. I’m forcing the metaphor.)

Love is walking, assertively walking.
It is announcing, loudly announcing.
Get up! Love is going by!

If you are asleep, wake up! If you are writing,
come have a look at love, here in the flesh!
If you are making love, keep doing that.

Lovely.

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015
Tribute to New Yorkers

[download audio]

__________

Arden Levine: “My father (a native Manhattanite) would often remark that the city was on its best behavior just before dawn. He once took a photo of my mother (born in the Bronx, raised in Queens) in the center of the West Side Highway at first light, and not a single car blurred the periphery of the image. Forty years later, from my apartment above Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, the sound of the rare truck passing at 5:00 a.m. has the quality of a shallow tidal stroke. I listen to the boisterous poetry in the city’s daily din, but I tune in most closely to the subdued poetry in its morning reverie.”