Saturday, February 02, 2008

Good Woman

When James Aloysius McGillicuddy
had killed the woman he loved
and refused to talk about it
he found himself making explanations
to himself:
"She could change herself
into a bubble for me to play with.
'I'll be your bubble' she says to me
'kiss me kick me kill me
break me like a big rainbow bubble
I shall be light for you
light as a lingering loving bubble
take me throw me handle me with care
or finger me like a fool
and see me vanish before your eyes.'"

And after thus quoting the woman he had killed
James Aloysius McGillicuddy began wondering to himself
whether she had talked like that so fierce so funny
whether he was imagining things after the excitement
of sending a slug of lead into a woman's bosom and yet
he swore to himself:
"She was a bubble she told me
she was a bubble made for me
and nobody else and I could
make her or break her
and why the hell I broke her
I dont [sic] know
she was a goddam good woman
I dont [sic] know why it happened
she was such a goddam good woman."

Carl Sandburg
from Poems for the People published by Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 1999.
'Good Woman' was written when Sandburg lived in Chicago and worked as a journalist for The Day Book and Daily News.

I'm including this poem here because I like the omniscience of the narrator as it plays against the ignorance of McGillicuddy. Also because it reminds me of poems in the Spoon River Anthology. Maybe Edgar Lee Masters unwittingly helped Sandburg become what some regard as an urban Walt Whitman.

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