Un bon film francais

I love a good French film: subtitles, no soundtrack to speak of,
scenes ending suddenly in the middle of conversation.
It feels like a glimpse into real life, rather than a story staged,
captured with a lens. There will be odd shots of nature – a flower
or the sky – and random narration over a black screen, and
if there is nudity, you will have an equal chance of seeing his penis,
not just her breasts, which of course is only fair,
because women’s breasts seem to pop up for no good reason
in most movies. A good French film lingers in the mind –
I have questions, I have opinions – unlike so many movies
which roll with the credits off the screen and disappear forever.
A good French film ends before I am completely satisfied,
wanting more.

Lady Chatterly at the Siskel

The first movie I saw
   after having sex with him
Was Lady Chatterly
   in French.
I surprised myself
   by crying
When Constance holds
   a baby chick
And realizes she may
   never have a baby.
I also wept suddenly
   when her lover
Confesses that he is
   in love with her.
The tears did not stop
   until the film ended,
Abruptly, like most
   foreign films.
Afterward, I realized
   I had not watched
All the sex scenes
   with my usual bitterness
But instead had
   held my breath
Waiting for the lovers
   to climax.
Funny, how the world
   does not change.
Go to Canada with him,
   I wanted to shout.
Take your chance for
   happiness, but women
Did not just leave their
   husbands then,
And despite what the numbers
    say, women do not
Always leave them now.

Opening night

How many years did I waste
   money on two tickets;
Opening night at the symphony,
   a desperate attempt to make
Magic happen. I thought if I just
   planned the perfect evening
My husband would be there
   in more than body, but it
Was never real. And then last
   night, I took a chance
With a man I’ve only known
   for a short time. I didn’t give
Much notice, but he put on his
   only suit and his “ladybug” cap,
And he looked amazing, and so
   did I, and after the last notes
Sounded, he said I squirmed like
   a little girl all through the
Soprano and the Bolero and I
   almost skipped down the street
Walking home with him, and
   I think he was happy, too.

Django at the coffee shop

They’re playing Django at the coffee shop
   this morning
So I smile to no one in particular as I pour
   syrup on my French toast    
Two years ago I had never heard his
   gypsy guitar
Two years ago I was sleeping away
   my Saturdays
Wasting away on our discontinued
   blue and pink sofa
Wondering why life was imitating retail,
   discontinuing my marriage
Two years ago we had just celebrated
   our ninth anniversary
An elaborate dinner, an expensive present,
   an uncomfortable bedroom tangle
Ending in his bitter laugh, my bitter tears,
   our bitter knowledge

Two years
   and I have bought new furniture

And as Django’s minor swing floats
   over my breakfast
Out the door onto my new street,
   new neighborhood, new life
Two years stretch behind me as an
   eternity and an instant
And I never want to waste
   another Saturday


I saw a drawing in the art museum in Pilsen
Of a mother nursing in black-and-white
Her full breasts dangling, baby suckling on the right
A wide-eyed tabby watching over her shoulder
And I thought to myself: I want that feeling
A feeling my own mother never had with me
And how ironic that it is now, this moment
After ten years of marriage, after my divorce
That I should feel these pangs, these cravings
When the possibility of babies and breast milk
Seem as far away as the moon or the Milky Way
Or a comet that traveled near to Earth once
But passed unnoticed by all but the scientists and sailors
And has no plans to return…
Perhaps the hormones in my body are playing tricks
Causing me to feel things that are not real
Think thoughts that are not my own
A passing flu, a fainting spell, a moment of insanity
In the fickle female brain…
I saw a little girl today in the plaza by the Calder
She and her mother both wore pink shirts
She walked carefully along a ledge, waving her arms
Until mother took her hand and helped her down
And I thought to myself: I will never have that
Or the chances are small, the odds against
More likely I will wander through museums alone
And some art – like Angelina Beloff’s drawing –
Will bring tears…