The Other Forest

By Darcie Dennigan Darcie Dennigan
            To insects – sensual lust . . . was how I began my talk . . . On Paradise . . . at the local library . . . It would be a nuns-only audience . . . I knew . . . ! So I’d donned my habit . . . wore a ton of More Spirit Than Flesh make-up . . . And . . . brought props . . . props in my large portable closet . . . l’Armoire Secrète . . . Got to the library assembly room . . . Fuck . . . the one . . . only . . . person in the audience . . . my husband . . . Who . . . I knew . . . ! always preferred I get right to the . . . Thus . . . Paradise is sex sans bodies . . . Paradise: Travesty . . . Mechanical birds . . . Exegetes . . . Was I losing . . . ? Quickly to witticisms . . . I don’t like sexing but I love having sexed . . . The audience member . . . the audience member was . . . demanding to see the inside . . . of l’Armoire Secrète . . . Fuck . . . I . . . I began fumbling . . . with the golden lock . . . Took a minute for nunly explication . . . Sex lubricates . . . the locks on the gates . . . Paradise-wise . . . When the Armoire doors were . . . I stepped aside . . . let the audience member . . . He got very close . . . peered in . . . put his whole head . . . I regret he said . . . he was nervous trying to joke . . . I regret I’ve forgotten my spelunking costume . . . Shush I said . . . Keep looking . . . Though really there was nothing to see . . .  l’Armoire Secrète was empty . . . Finally . . . he stood . . . squinting in the library light . . . he peered . . . right at me . . . Hey he said . . . he came very close . . . This was how a naked marble statue felt . . . Hey he said . . . gentle-wise . . . Love . . . he said . . . Love it’s me don’t you recognize . . . Of course I did . . . had . . . But had to pretend I did . . . not . . .
 
            Will the audience member please take his seat . . . I said it resolutely . . . though not . . . firmly . . . I began again . . . On Paradise . . . My voice as clean as the Dewey Decimal System . . . I brought up my On Paradise PowerPoint . . . visuals of forests . . . trees . . . He was seated . . . Once my car broke down in front of a nunnery . . . over the door of which was inscribed . . . from Dante . . .

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita

mi ritrovai per una selva oscura

 

and I thought . . . at the time . . . I had been thinking una selva oscura . . . had to mean dark self . . . never bothering to . . . the Italian . . . I just . . . plunged . . . I’d donned a habit . . . black robes . . .  . . . Was I saying all this out loud . . . or in my head . . . ? It’s hard to tell the difference . . . if . . . you talk enough . . . I donned these black robes and lived in shadows and . . . It was time for a rhetorical gesture . . . Of course of course I said with a nod . . . a nod magnanimous . . . a nod sagacious . . . a nod to a slide of particularly dark . . . trees . . . Of course the wilderness spreads woe unto him . . . who carries the wilderness with him . . . and the audience member . . . I had him . . . I knew . . . Thus . . . I parted my robes . . . to show . . . marching in and out of my cunt . . . the ants . . . Then . . . the robes . . . I shut . . . He . . . the audience . . . was no longer standing . . . very close . . . Goodness . . . ! I chided . . . Such distance . . .

Darcie Dennigan, “The Other Forest” from Madame X. Copyright © 2012 by Darcie Dennigan. Reprinted by permission of Canarium Books.

Source: Madame X (Canarium Books, 2012)

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Poet Darcie Dennigan

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Love, Desire, Relationships, Men & Women, Religion, Christianity, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Darcie  Dennigan

Biography

Darcie Dennigan earned a BA in literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her poetry collection Corinna A-Maying the Apocalypse (2008) was winner of the Poets Out Loud prize. In her introduction to the volume, judge Alice Fulton found Dennigan’s long-lined, historically informed poems to be “underwritten by lyric, narrative, pastoral, satire and epic modes.” Dennigan is . . .

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SUBJECT Love, Desire, Relationships, Men & Women, Religion, Christianity, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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