Blue Monday

By Diane Wakoski b. 1937 Diane Wakoski
Blue of the heaps of beads poured into her breasts   
and clacking together in her elbows;
blue of the silk
that covers lily-town at night;
blue of her teeth
that bite cold toast
and shatter on the streets;
blue of the dyed flower petals with gold stamens   
hanging like tongues
over the fence of her dress
at the opera/opals clasped under her lips
and the moon breaking over her head a
gush of blood-red lizards.

Blue Monday. Monday at 3:00 and
Monday at 5. Monday at 7:30 and
Monday at 10:00. Monday passed under the rippling   
California fountain. Monday alone
a shark in the cold blue waters.

                     You are dead: wound round like a paisley shawl.   
                     I cannot shake you out of the sheets. Your name   
                     is still wedged in every corner of the sofa.

                     Monday is the first of the week,   
                     and I think of you all week.   
                     I beg Monday not to come   
                     so that I will not think of you   
                     all week.

You paint my body blue. On the balcony
in the softy muddy night, you paint me
with bat wings and the crystal
the crystal   
the crystal
the crystal in your arm cuts away
the night, folds back ebony whale skin   
and my face, the blue of new rifles,   
and my neck, the blue of Egypt,   
and my breasts, the blue of sand,   
and my arms, bass-blue,
and my stomach, arsenic;

there is electricity dripping from me like cream;
there is love dripping from me I cannot use—like acacia or   
jacaranda—fallen blue and gold flowers, crushed into the street.

                         Love passed me in a blue business suit
                         and fedora.
                         His glass cane, hollow and filled with
                         sharks and whales ...   
                         He wore black
                         patent leather shoes
                         and had a mustache. His hair was so black
                         it was almost blue.

                         “Love,” I said.
                         “I beg your pardon,” he said.   
                         “Mr. Love,” I said.
                         “I beg your pardon,” he said.

                         So I saw there was no use bothering him on the street

                         Love passed me on the street in a blue   
                         business suit. He was a banker   
                         I could tell.

So blue trains rush by in my sleep.   
Blue herons fly overhead.
Blue paint cracks in my
arteries and sends titanium
floating into my bones.   
Blue liquid pours down
my poisoned throat and blue veins
rip open my breast. Blue daggers tip
and are juggled on my palms.
Blue death lives in my fingernails.

If I could sing one last song
with water bubbling through my lips
I would sing with my throat torn open,
the blue jugular spouting that black shadow pulse,   
and on my lips
I would balance volcanic rock
emptied out of my veins. At last
my children strained out
of my body. At last my blood
solidified and tumbling into the ocean.
It is blue.   
It is blue.   
It is blue.

Diane Wakoski, “Blue Monday” from Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987. Copyright © 1988 by Diane Wakoski. Reprinted with the permission of David
R. Godine/Black Sparrow Press, www.blacksparrowbooks.com/titles/wakoski.htm.

Source: Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987 (David R. Godine/Black Sparrow Press, 1988)

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Poet Diane Wakoski b. 1937

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Subjects Nature, The Body

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 Diane  Wakoski

Biography

Diane Wakoski, described as an "important and moving poet" by Paul Zweig in the New York Times Book Review, is frequently named among the foremost contemporary American poets by virtue of her experiential vision and her unique voice. Wakoski's poems focus on intensely personal experiences—on her unhappy childhood, on the painful relationships she has had with men and, perhaps most frequently, on the subject of being Diane . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, The Body

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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