Main Entry: sot·to vo·ce

Pronunciation: "sä-tO-'vO-chE
Function: adverb or adjective
Etymology: Italian sottovoce, literally, under the voice
1 : under the breath : in an undertone; also : in a private manner
2 : very softly -- used as a direction in music

Sunday, October 17, 2004

early betrayal | audio poem

this is an audio post - click to play

Early Betrayal

It was surprising how easy,
I was so sure some electric
barrier would bar the others,
reject with spit and spark
a surge I hoped would push
those boys away, though even
you had been disloyal,
casually not thinking of us
your weeping trinity we cried
while you thought only
of yourself. Such treachery
to kiss some other. So
when he said what he would
do I believed I would cry No,
but a thready voice said OK
and it was done, our fate sealed.

I had been your Mary for so long
thumb-twiddling away the time
squandering my beauty as you
turned to some other, a blessed
one in France and put her on your
pedestal. So when he kissed me
again I offered all my fury, raged
against you as if to prove to the
three of us in that bed, for you
were there, that I was the One.

For once I let myself love back
forget about you and when we
touched I closed my eyes and thought
of you touching her and felt
pure hatred and spite and beneath
that just sorrow, a bottomless
sorry that I tried hard to fuck
away. You couldn’t give her up;
not for me, not for anyone. She
was your goddess, the ultimate
idol against all others would be
measured, and I, I came up short.

But when I fell of your pedestal
surprised to find myself being
raised by this other, he with a furious
love of my auburn hair, a perversion
for my freckles. I watched as he
spit-shined my shoes and every
day told me about my beauty.
He offered sustenance; I took it.
I was dying with your love –
emptying instead of filling.
You never saw it. Never believed
anyone could love you so much
that it would hurt to not
be loved back.

Did you believe after that?
or did it drive you farther away,
your perpetual excuse as you flee
to the waiting arms of whomever –
a name that doesn’t matter –
My love never ended. I left him
at last, broken hearted as I was,
I saw the same pain he felt for me
that I still felt for you and my soul
cried out like the Phoenix on fire
She who never knows whether or not
she will ever rise from such ashes.