One Night in Balthazar

By Fanny Howe b. 1940 Fanny Howe
The hotel bar downstairs
was dirty and dark and almost empty
except for him whom I didn’t know

I lost my balance
because evil is aroused by absence


Outside on the island
a brick city had grown up and old

A person could only nibble on its shadows


Where was my beloved?

The cornerstone was familiar
but unrecognizable
and I didn’t understand why infinity

was seeping into my hair



Somebody said:
“He’s out of his bottle”

I guess it meant
Temporarily out of service and empty.

But then there was Arsene
beside the last remaining cabin
wandering with his eyes on the camera


Dynamite in his pocket
and a piece of thread

to trap a rabbit.


Evil is a growing thing
It has its own gravity
and never answers to its name
It is a hole into chaos. It is real

Arsene held me in his arms
He was drunk as usual
and his nipple smelled of rum

But still I loved him—
loved him madly!—
as if he was the one

Fanny Howe, "One Night in Balthazar" from Golden Handcuffs Review, vol. 1, #2. Copyright ©  2003 by Fanny Howe.  Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: Golden Handcuffs Review Vol. 1 #2 (2003)

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Poet Fanny Howe b. 1940

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Relationships, Love, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Infatuation & Crushes, Realistic & Complicated

 Fanny  Howe

Biography

Fanny Howe is the author of more than 20 books of poetry and prose. Howe grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and studied at Stanford University. “If someone is alone reading my poems, I hope it would be like reading someone’s notebook. A record. Of a place, beauty, difficulty. A familiar daily struggle,” Fanny Howe explained in a 2004 interview with the Kenyon Review. Indeed, more than a subject or theme, the process of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Infatuation & Crushes, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

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