Excerpt from Inferno – Eileen Myles

“Over the years I discovered it was always good to go. I have a hard time knowing what to do. About leaving. I’d feel I was ready and yet I was too embarrassed to draw attention to myself by saying goodbye so I’d wait, or leave with Tom, or someone. Sometimes I’d just escape, not saying a word. I tried to get over it but it never got any better. I think a poem is like a party. Because it has to end. You’ve got to leave, eventually. Tom knew. I asked why he left so abruptly. I’ll tell you, Ei, he said, being manly. Miming his father. No, I guess it’s him. When I walk into a room, I take a deep breath and when that breath is gone I have to go. There’s nothing left.

The thing is, when you’re writing a poem, no matter what you meant to say or do, when the leaving impulse comes, just finish your line and get the hell out of the room.

Though, sometimes, even if you said too much, you can still go back and fix it. You can actually learn to have grace. And that’s heaven.”

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2 Responses to Excerpt from Inferno – Eileen Myles

  1. What a lovely post, Rachel! Yes, finishing a poem is a lot like leaving a party. People do get tongue-tied, they stay to long, they bolt out rudely–it is difficult. But you’ve got it right–when the poem says its time to be leaving, just get up and leave. “You can actually learn to have grace. And that’s heaven.” And that, my dear, is brilliant!

    • rachvb says:

      Eileen Myles in the brilliant one here. I’m just reposting what she wrote. But either way it touched me. It made sense to me. It was a small piece of what I have been looking for perhaps? There are so many gems within that book – Inferno – I know Rebecca spoke of it often. While I had to muddle through many parts, other parts were turned on, spotted like a flashlight.
      I’m glad it touched you as well or turned something on. Our common link is the heart and poetry.
      Happy heart day!

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