Poetry: Michael Blumenthal

For my Sam

A Mar­riage
You are hold­ing up a ceiling
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, ter­ri­bly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceiling
will soon collapse.

But then,
unexpectedly,
some­thing won­der­ful happens:
Someone,
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arm up
to the ceil­ing beside you.

So you final­ly get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flow­ing back
to your fin­gers and arms.
And when your part­ner’s arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.

And it can go on like this
for many years
with­out the house falling.

From Against Romance: Poems by Michael Blu­men­thal, Pen­guin Books, 1988

5 Replies to “Poetry: Michael Blumenthal”

  1. Yup. That’s exact­ly what it’s like. Cool. I’ve nev­er read Blu­men­thal, but I just may have to.

  2. I read Against Romance a while back, at my room­mate’s sug­ges­tion. It’s good stuff, and I real­ly like that one in particular.

  3. Hope, have you read Days We Would Rather Know? Let me know if you want me to send it to you 🙂 I think I found Blu­men­thal and Leslea New­man around the same time, thanks to a book­store (Oxford) that I still miss ter­ri­bly even though it’s been years and years since it closed. I doubt that there’s a sin­gle bib­lio­phile in the area who does­n’t still mourn that one.

  4. No, I haven’t read it. I would love to bor­row it, though. Your tim­ing is excel­lent, of course 🙂 I just a few min­utes ago fin­ished read­ing Lover’s Cre­do by Corliss Lam­ont. The entire book is online, and well worth reading. 

    I don’t think I’ve read any Leslea New­man yet — I’ll have to keep an eye out for her work. 

    A good book­store is a beau­ti­ful thing, and the lack of one is def­i­nite­ly worth mourning!

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