Duality

Tina Chang

 
Perhaps I hold people to impossible ideals,
I tell them, something is wrong with your
personality, (you're a drinker, you're
too dependent, or I think you have
a mother/son fixation). This is usually
followed by passionate lovemaking,
one good long and very well meaning
embrace, and then I'm out the door.  
In daylight, I'll tip my sunglasses forward,
buy a cup of tea and think of the good
I've done for the world, how satisfying
it feels to give a man something to contemplate.
The heart is a whittled twig. No, that is not
the right image, so I drop the heart in a pile
of wood and light that massive text on fire.    
I walk the streets of Brooklyn looking
at this storefront and that, buy a pair of shoes
I can't afford, pumps from London, pointed
at the tip and heartbreakingly high, hear
my new heels clicking, crushing the legs
of my shadow. The woman who wears
these shoes will be a warrior, will not think
about how wrong she is, how her calculations
look like the face of a clock with hands
ticking with each terrorizing minute.
She will for an instant feel so much
for the man, she left him lying in his bed
softly weeping. He whispers something
to himself  like bitch, witch, cold hearted
______,  but he'll think back to the day
at the promenade when there was no one there
but the two of them, the entire city falling away
into a thin film of yellow and then black,
and how she squeezed his hand, kissed him
on his wrist which bore a beautifully healed
scar, he will love her between instances
of cursing her name. She will have long
fallen asleep in her own bed, a thin nude
with shoes like stilts, shoes squeezing
the blood out of her feet, and in her sleep
she rises above a disappearing city, her head
touching a remote heaven, though below her,
closer to the ground, she feels an ache at the bottom.
 
Copyright © 2007 by Tina Chang. Appears courtesy of the author.

Poems by This Author

Birth by Tina Chang
I was locked into a single seed, my future fathoming
Celestial by Tina Chang
When everything was accounted for
Evolution of Danger by Tina Chang
I'm the one in the back of the bar, drinking cachaša
Infinite and Plausible by Tina Chang
It is the smallest idea born in the interior will
The Future is an Animal by Tina Chang
In every kind of dream I am a black wolf
Wonder Cabinet by Tina Chang
I opened the silver pronged evening and translated


Further Reading

Poems and Clothing
"What Do Women Want?"
by Kim Addonizio
Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
by W. B. Yeats
Black Jackets
by Thom Gunn
Black Nikes
by Harryette Mullen
Borrowed Dress
by Cathy Colman
Coat
by Peg Boyers
Couture
by Mark Doty
Dialect of a Skirt
by Erica Miriam Fabri
Dressmaker
by Éireann Lorsung
Fat Southern Men in Summer Suits
by Liam Rector
My Shoes
by Charles Simic
Ode to a Dressmaker's Dummy
by Donald Justice
Old Coat
by Liam Rector
Red Shoes
by Honor Moore
Shirt
by Robert Pinsky
The Plaid Dress
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Upon Julia's Clothes
by Robert Herrick
Wedding Dress
by Michael Waters
White T-shirt
by Lewis Ellingham