Cabin

By Anne Waldman b. 1945 Anne Waldman
eviction people arrive to haunt me
      with descriptions of summer’s wildflowers   
            how they are carpet of fierce colors

I bet you hate to see us they say and yes
      I do hate to have to move again especially from here   
            destruction brought to place of love

the uneven smiles that win she’s a business woman   
      blond tints that glow at sunset as profits rise   
            alas what labor I employ

but to ensure a moment’s joy
      sets branches trembling & arms chilled   
            dear one long returning home, come to

clammy feverish details, muffed sorrow
      I turn to throw a tear of rage in the pot
            never remorse but hint of scruples I’d hope for

it is error it is speculation it is real estate
      it is the villain and comic slippery words
            the work of despotic wills to make money

I scream take it take your money! make your money   
      go on it’s only money, here’s a wall of dry rot
            here’s an unfinished ceiling, just a little sunlight

peeks through this (lark, no luminance! exquisite St. Etienne   
      stove doesn’t work icebox either too hot or frozen   
            firescreen tumbling down

kitchen insulation droops is ugly & a mess
      ah but love it here, only surface appearances   
            to complain of, nothing does justice

to shape of actual events I love   
      but a fight against artificiality
            its inherent antagonism, bald hatred of moving

and problem of thirsty fig tree in Burroughs
      apartment wakes me I don’t want to go down there yet   
            & how to orchestrate the summer properly

the problem of distress & not denying pride from it   
      too atomized to make pleasure of melancholy
            & an uncontrollable enthusiasm for throne & altar

I want to sit high want simple phalanx
      of power independent of everything but free will   
            & one long hymn in praise of the cabin!

it is a confession in me impenetrably walled in   
      like aesthetics like cosmos an organ of
            metaphysics and O this book gives me a headache

dear Weston La Barre let’s have an argument   
      because I see too clearly how rational I must be &   
            the kernel of my faith corrupted

because you have no reliance on the shaman & outlaw   
      or how depth of mind might be staggering   
            everywhere except in how important science is

science? no he won’t he fooled by visions
      whereas I wait for dazzling UFOs they announce   
            will arrive high in these mountains

I repair the portal even invite stray horses in   
      have a little toy receiving station   
            that sits by the bed

at the edge of night all thoughts to place of love   
      all worries to this place of love   
            all gestures to the place of love

all agonies to place of love, thaws to place   
      of love, swarthy valley sealed   
            in wood, log burst into flame

in home of love, all heart’s dints   
      and machinations, all bellows & pungency   
            antemundane thoughts to palace of love

all liberties, singularity, all imaginings
      I weep for, Jack’s sweet almond-eyed daughter to   
            place of love, & heavy blankets

and terracing & yard work & patch work   
      & tenacity & the best in you
            surround me work in me to place my love

dear cirques, clear constraint, dissenting
      inclinations of a man and a woman, Metonic cycle   
            all that sweats in rooms, lives in nature

requiems & momentum & trimmings of bushes   
      dried hibiscus & hawks & shyness   
            brought to this place of love

trees rooted fear rooted all roots brought
      to place of love, mystery to heart of love   
            & fibers

and fibers in sphere of love a whole world makes   
      spectators of slow flowering of spring
            & summer when you walk to town for eggs

and continuous hammerings as new people   
      arrive & today we notice for first time
            a white-crowned sparrow out by the feeder

with the chickadees & juncos & I missed   
      that airplane-dinosaur in dream nervous   
            to travel again, miss buds pop open

to shudder in breeze, their tractability   
      makes sudden rise of sensibility you are   
            shuddering too & your boy laugh

comes less frequent now you’re drawn into   
      accountability, will I return to find all   
            stuff tidy in silver truck

ready to go? it’s you in this place I lose   
      most because it’s here in you I forget
            where I am, this place for supernaturals

perched high in sky & wind, held by wind in stationary   
      motion as bluebird we observe over meadow or caught   
            up with jetstream dipping in valley’s soft cradle

power & light & heat & radiance of head it takes
      power & light & heat & radiance of head it takes to   
            make it work while

down there someone building replicas of what
      it feels like to be a human multitude, fantasy   
            molded clumsily, spare my loves

and love of glorious architecture when you really put   
      outside in, the feeling of cloud or mountain   
            or stone

having developed an idea of idyllic private life   
      & sovereignty of spirit over common   
            empirical demand

I tell you about renunciation, I tell you holy   
      isolation like a river nears ocean to   
            dissolve

and cabin becomes someone’s idea of a good place   
      discretion you pay for it wasn’t mine either   
            but sits on me imprints on me

forever splendor of fog, snow shut strangers out   
      gradual turn of season, ground stir, pine
            needle tickle your shoulder, peak curve, fresh air.

Anne Waldman, “Cabin” from Helping the Dreamer: Selected Poems, 1966-1988. Copyright © 1989 by Anne Waldman. Reprinted with the permission of Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, www.coffeehousepress.com.

Source: Helping the Dreamer: Selected Poems 1966-1988 (Coffee House Press, 1989)

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Poet Anne Waldman b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Subjects Home Life, Relationships