“Motel Surrender” by Diana Goetsch

Diana Goetsch


Lovers come best together when they come
undone, empty-handed, rendered dumb,
come down to their last card, a turning
way past desperation and cleaner burning.
They show up in the doorways of motels,
sights for sore eyes in sunken orbitals,
solemn as animals, far from all thought
of anything that can be learned or taught.
Lovers show up best after they’ve used
up their excuses, returning bruised
in a cold season, in a darkening room,
in threadbare clothes absent of perfume,
and even these will soon go up in flames
along with their bones, their dreams, their names.

from Rattle #82, Winter 2023
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


Diana Goetsch: “I began writing poetry at four or five a.m. on the NYC subway after nights spent shooting pool. I was wasting my life. Then phrases, lines came to me. They weren’t lines of Whitman or Yeats or Eliot, so I figured they must be mine. They cycled through my head as I walked my Brooklyn neighborhood among a million sleeping people, feeling like I was treading the afterlife. Once home, I jotted the lines in a notebook, added some more, and started playing with them. That was 30 years ago.” (web)

Rattle Logo