Friday, June 5, 2009

The Long-Term Marriage

I have another great poem I found in The New Yorker yet again. The title of the poem is pretty self-explanatory towards the subject of the poem, and that subject, I find, is very interesting. Check it out.

The Long-Term Marriage

by Spencer Reece

At last she's happy, reigning with her creams,
rubbing his scalp's roof until it gleams.
As the squamous-cell carcinomas sprout,
the local dermatologist cuts them out

or frosts the lunar surface with liquid nitrogen.
The creams come from West Fourteenth Street, Manhattan,
FedExed from their adopted son's boyfriend's home,
a relationship that remains, to them, unknown.

Their Oriental rugs are steeped in piss
from the bulldog barking like an activist.
Bickering over misplaced books, the tchotchkes
lost, and how she re-remembers her stories,

they wait with an unfinished, finished look,
and note how honeysuckle crowns Old Saybrook
and thistles overrun their last garden.
The dash between their dates is nearly done.

So many details in this poem screams "long-term marriage," the marriage that has been going on for a very long time and that, perhaps, has fallen into patterns and has lost some of the initial flame and luster.

This couple seems to be very well off, having Oriental rugs, having creams ordered from a street in Manhattan, focusing on creams, having so many tchotchkes, the garden. What's the point of having the elite married couple? Are they just for show with their money? I always pictured (if I was going to write a poem with this same title) a couple that is middle class. Maybe that's because I'm from middle class and that's what I would picture, but I guess I also picture elite couples not to be married for long-term either. Or maybe my perception is just different from others.

Marriage details: Having a dog. Having that dog pee unexpectedly and dealing with it. Having an adopted son. Not knowing about the adopted son's homosexuality. (I wonder what they would say or whe the son remains in the closet. I wonder if they have suspicions or, if they are like most parents of homosexuals, in denial.) They collect tchotckes, way too many. They have a garden. They have conversations about gardens.

The days blend together.

Time passes quickly. I guess that does happen with couples. That must be weird when the days go by fast, but then when the years go by fast. That must be scary when they become decades. Oh wow, there went the 80s... there went the 90s... That must be scary.

That's my meditation over the poem. What do you think?

What do you think about "The Long-Term Marriage?"

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