Friday, July 28, 2006

Adultery - Carol Ann Duffy


Wear dark glasses in the rain.
Regard what was unhurt
as though through a bruise.
Guilt. A sick, green tint.

New gloves, money tucked in the palms,
the handshake crackles. Hands
can do many things. Phone.
Open the wine. Wash themselves. Now

you are naked under your clothes all day,
slim with deceit. Only the once
brings you alone to your knees,
miming, more, more, older and sadder,

creative. Suck a lie with a hole in it
on the way home from a lethal, thrilling night
up against a wall, faster. Language
unpeels a lost cry. You're a bastard.

Do it do it do it. Sweet darkness
in the afternoon; a voice in your ear
telling you how you are wanted,
which way, now. A telltale clock

wiping the hours from its face, your face
on a white sheet, gasping, radiant, yes.
Pay for it in cash, fiction, cab-fares back
to the life which crumbles like a wedding-cake.

Paranoia for lunch; too much
to drink, as a hand on your thigh
tilts the restaurant. You know all about love,
don't you. Turn on your beautiful eyes

for a stranger who's dynamite in bed, again
and again; a slow replay in the kitchen
where the slicing of innocent onions
scalds you to tears. Then, selfish autobiographical sleep

in a marital bed, the tarnished spoon of your body
stirring betrayal, your heart over-ripe at the core.
You're an expert, darling; your flowers
dumb and explicit on nobody's birthday.

So write the script - illness and debt,
a ring thrown away in a garden
no moon can heal, your own words
commuting to bile in your mouth, terror -

and all for the same thing twice. And all
for the same thing twice. You did it.
What. Didn't you. Fuck. Fuck. No. That was
the wrong verb. This is only an abstract noun.


Blogger Bob Souvorin said...

As I was writing the first comment to your first post, you have gone ahead and posted a second, and I was right - you are a writer.
Pretty decent images:

A telltale clock, wiping the hours from its face ...

Pay for it in cash, fiction, cab fares back to the life that crumbles like a wedding cake.

It hurts, of course it hurts, but pain is and always has been one of the entrances to our souls, our dreams, and our mind where all of our art grows. If you'd like, i invite you to visit my blog,

Keep writing my friend, Bob

10:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if this was written about the father of your daughter?

12:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The father of Carol Ann Duffy's daughter was married...and I think this poem is about him. I don't know for certain. If it is, I feel sorry for his much hurt and pain and fear and despair did she experience while these two got their jollies? Getting pleasure at the expense of another person's pain? Kinda sick don't you think? And sociopathic too.
I think that this poem is beautifully written, but it does celebrate two people gaining pleasure and giving pain to a third. Sadistic. Moral wilderbeasts in a prairie of relativism - outdated these days.

12:44 am  
Blogger lola said...

um...but the point is they are haunted by guilt and regret!

8:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haunted by guilt and regret..? hmm.. to quote one of her own poems, "Sorry about that.."

Poetry should be about the shared human condition...should reflect the integrity we all seek, but do not have, and the void that therefore exists.

To make a poem about Adultery have some acknowledgement of the void, the poet should be real about what it is to have sexual pleasure while being aware that it gives another woman deep emotional pain.

But the feelings of the other woman, are not acknowledged. Apart from a sort of a "Sorry About That" brush off. Its sick.

8:50 pm  
Blogger Veronica said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:40 pm  
Blogger Veronica said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well that was a weird message Veronica.
"Moral Fits?" - hmmm
"That seems a projection.."
"Hey teacher-poet, don' hit anyone with a moral stick.."

I think I know who put you up to this Veronica. I'm not a teacher. I'm not a poet. And I'm not the person that you think I am.

8:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Second thoughts..
Veronica lets stop this. When I made those earlier commnets, I had believed some things told to me by a person who has a strange relationship with the truth.
(ok...this person lies ALOT)
It is a case of ....
Don't believe a handsome face...
Things are not always what they seem to be...or what you want them to be...
It is as you say.. We are "Prey to desire, prey to flattery, Prey to the expectation of love and fulfillment"
Good words
Food for thought.
Have a an olive branch hug Vernonica..if you will accept one.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful testament to such a henous crime- adultery.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean like, why would she even have sex with him? He has a penis!

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Anonymous Amina said...

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3:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Onions scald you to tears'

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Scald suggests burning, and the idea of fire which to me gives a sense of long-term damage

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