So, I got Sharon Olds' new collection of poems as a Saint Marty's Day gift. The book, simply titled Odes, has been making me very happy for over a week. Even though I have featured her several times as Poet of the Week, I can't overlook the joy I take in these.
In honor of Halloween, I would like to share one of my favorites from the collection.
Yes, Saint Marty is a geek fanboy of Sharon Olds.
Ode to the Creature from the Black Lagoon
by: Sharon Olds
I'm not sure how old I was,
not still twelve, I think, that child
lifted up on her telescoping legs--
and not yet fourteen, that worst year,
trying to talk to the other kids
through the agency of the monster I shuffled
around as--I think thirteen, I think
it was sometime during that thirteen-month
night, that I snuck out to see it. It was not
human, though it had a torso and limbs
and a head, and it did seem a little like us
in its isolation and suffering
and menace. Mostly it shined, mostly
it glistened, its craquelure skin mirroring
light, mostly I think it hunted
people, mostly it came up,
out of the Black Lagoon, and wandered
a town, a one of its kind--an it, post-
human and yet pre-alien.
It pains me now to think of the actor
in the glitter suit--no penis, as far as I
could see, though I had not seen one yet--no
breasts, I who was growing my own small
butter lettuces in the night, or
being used to grow them. O bifurcate
sparkling with costume scales, O primate--
from the planet inside us--your thin skin
the gliss flay of the juices my possessed
body was making, thank you for showing us
ourselves, shimmering up out of
the night soup of the gene, thank you for your
beauty, your invincible strangeness, you dangerous
stardom, your fearlessness, your slime!