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comment by _refugee_
_refugee_  ·  1942 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Essential Tremor by Elizabeth Metzger

OTHER POSSIBLE INTERPRETATIONS (not necessarily likely, just possible) I'VE THOUGHT ABOUT

    Where death is something you can fuck up the broken heart rolls three blank dice.

As you are probably aware a common French idiom is "le petit mort," literally "the little death," really referring to "orgasm." This is a common idiom and a generally known euphemism, both the French phrase and the English word death = sex/orgasm, from what I understand. So I think there's the potential that "death" may also be referring to or evoking sex, in which case yes - it's easy to sex wrongly, or at least, sub-par-ly. Keeping the context of the poem pretty strictly as a cast-off lover and broken heart, it is worth considering if this is intended by the author and at least invoked by this phrase if not the totality of what it refers to.

I would say less that the poem is anticlimactic but that it is anti-idyllic. I do think that goes better with the idea of a disillusioned/spurned lover who is realizing the seemingly best thing(s) (love, relationship, partner, etc) were not/are no longer as they were/seemed.

Psychic - not too many syllables away from psychiatrist.

Continuing to interpret the poem rather more rigidly I feel like

    Everything blushes but my ego now dumbed down for "sleep"

could be referring to an acquiescence or acceptance born of defeat or lack of energy. That is what I get from "now dumbed down," that there is a loss of energy and a general either begrudging acceptance of sleep or even perhaps welcoming sleep as respite from pain/disappointment. I could see myself after a break-up just trying to wear myself down into unconsciousness for a while to cope. But I agree, the blushing remains ambiguous, unless we are talking about a cheating lover perhaps (which could also be how one could fail at death/sex).

The hermits I agree are a departure and take the poem from a very close lens to a far one. However, perhaps the idea there is that of anticipating the impossible/ridiculous/never-gonna-happen, which may be how the narrator feels hoping their lover will return.

Some more thoughts. I agree, I interpret the angel "willing to watch you shake" as uplifting in a way, not deliberately but absolutely reminiscent of Taylor Swift, and interpret "shake" to mean "dancing" or celebration of some kind. That even in imperfection there can be joy. Even in the diminution of an ideal you can retain some carefree and happiness.





bristolstreet  ·  1942 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ooh, that's interesting. I didn't think about le petit mort. That would jive with the use of "fuck." Incidentally, the first time I was told about le petit mort I was in tenth grade and I think we were reading Macbeth. I don't remember where it fit in exactly, but I do remember my (female) teacher telling us that the reason it's called that is because when you orgasm, your heart beats incredibly slowly, you become lightheaded, and time seems to almost stop--you really do feel close to death. There began my unreasonable expectations for sex.

I like the lover interpretation as well. And I definitely thought about psychiatrist when I read psychic. Your interpretation is more the poet's end--lived experience--while mine is the grandiose bumfuckery of either a wide-eyed reader or a poet who's got a big head. In the tradition of the American classroom, I say each one is the best way to interpret it.