Linger: The Story of a Noun.

Image @ Tumblr (Victor Hugo, I believe)

There are very few men that deserve to have poems written about them.  This is just a fact.  Swooning love songs, yes. Movies of the romantic comedy variety, yes.  Romance novels, yes.  Autobiographies on love affairs like that of Ella Fitz and F. Scott, yes.  Poems, very rare.  Looking at a man under that fine tuned microscope, the small specks of dandruff on the shoulders of their suit coat, the way their voice cuts off with hesitation at the most important moment because they filter their arguments, the voice of October for me forever being the slip of a sliding glass door and that hard push at the last few inches.   Now, women though, those beauts can be written about all day.

I won’t get into the logistics of this.

Tumblr Image

I’ve only written poems to two men and one is almost a mystical creature so he doesn’t count: God and let’s call him, scar tissue.  I have heard my words on the lips of neither of these men.  The physical man was written about in college and I think I was so determined to figure him out as a victim or a survivor that I couldn’t fathom his abilities to be neither, just pity.

Sometimes, I’m an embarrassment.  Like that time in English 101 when I made faces at a boy across the room because, let’s be honest, hot boys rule over the technicalities of research papers.  He walked me home in the rain and progressed to not call, the way boys play the game from the start.  When he did, I was holding heels in my hand running across the street with a girlfriend in heavy winds at 1 am.  He and a friend picked us up.  The friend had a collection of thongs hanging from the rear mirror.  This should have been when I said, “No, darling, don’t write poems about boys like this.  Their words are left in the strings of bikinis, if they even have words small enough to tie together.” But, there I was.  I didn’t do anything that night, this isn’t a story of lust gone haywire.  We talked, I walked home before it was morning enough to be called shameful.

Zooey Deschanel @ Tumblr

Two years later, he was stabbed and died twice on the table, woken, a new man, but not a fresh one.  He was damaged in more ways that human connection can fix.  I hope he doesn’t google me and read this.  I still wrote him poems because he lingered, and some men are just good at that.  In advanced poetry, he lingered.  At the teen center poetry class, he mulled.  Teaching students creative writing, I remembered chopping up and dicing through a terrible poem he wrote when he thought he could be a poet and I made it “sexy.”  My words exactly.

My point is, I’m telling this story, because few men are capable of this.

A woman looked at me at work today and told me that if her husband packed his bags and walked out the door tomorrow she would say, “thank you.”  That was the end of the conversation.  Thank you, period, silence.  He wouldn’t endure.  And I wonder if this is how other women look at the spectrum of men in their life.  (Let’s talk about it). 

The Beauty of The Husband by Anne Carson

Then, there’s Anne Carson.  I feel like I’m getting drowned in memories at the same time that I’m getting a literary education when I read her books.  Keats, that distant lover of mine, molded together in a fictional unloved story between women and husband.  I say woman because she never really had him anyway.

This woman, this Hilary Clinton, sticks by her man until there is no man to stick with.  She is mesmerized by his beauty.  Completely unfurled with his crumbs of love.  She is the Anti-Beyonce.  Living Pre-90s Girl Power.  Not an angel of Charlie.  There are so many ways to put this.  This woman who has not the strength to even throw away his letters that just keep coming even after he’s married to someone else, and what is this skill that he has to keep her locked up in this cool, whispered place, linger.  Linger as a noun.  That white space where memory curls like smoke.

He has made himself impossible.  He has proven that love can move, can finish, can spread through different fields, but stay buried in the first.  It’s the compartmentalization of a man’s brain and the lack of understanding in this woman.  Only Anne Carson can show you the despicable behaviors of both husband and wife, granted, I don’t know what it means to be husband and wife and the power that that sort of certificate and oneness has over people, but I can’t imagine staying with a man who takes me to Athens and calls the mistress from the bar phone when he goes to get me a drink.  I’m just not sure that that would fly with me.

Then, there’s Anne Carson’s language.  OHMYGOD, this woman.  Can I request to be her in a next life, or be friends with whatever she comes back as.  Lyrical genius.  I was almost more on the side of the husband than I was on the side of the wife because of his words, their lack of words, the brilliance in their one word arguments. This book is written in 29 Tangos.  It says on the back cover, “A tango (like marriage) is something you have to dance to the end.”  I’m not even sure the end of this tango was the divorce, in fact, I’m more than sure it wasn’t.  It’s that damn linger.

Writing porn.

Using a mix of Keat’s lines, her own background in classic literature, and her wired notebooks full of words she’s put together to create a hypnotic rhythm, she creates a marriage that has fallen apart, but never really moved from where the pieces have landed.  Each tango has a title that is even more beautiful sometimes than the tango itself.  Each tango has at least one full line of beautifully, poetic literature.  Each tango has lines that aren’t at all poetic, but make you immediately angry with this woman who takes this kind of shit from a man.  At the end though, you almost forgive her.  I wanted to forgive women everywhere actually.  This is a no judgment zone.  I couldn’t stay with someone who cheated, but maybe some women could and I would like to know their answers to that.  How they solved that issue within themselves, not between them and the husband, but in their own gut.  I want to know the equation for that.

Notes @ Tumblr

My diary description of this book, “high school <3 story turned poetic intellectual instead of slimy.”  <——-I have a way with words too it seems. Just read these quotes:

“We have this deep sadness between us and its spells so habitual I can’t tell it from love” (20).

“His letters, we agree, were highly poetic.  They fell into my life/like pollen and stained it.  I hid them from my mother/ yet she always knew” (37).

My mother and this fictional mother must be friends.  My mother used to say in high school, “it’s like you wanted me to find out,” because I would leave notes stained with the inside of my jean pockets flopped around on my dresser, hidden in my underwear drawer where my mom’s hands would stuff my folded laundry, notes left washed out in the dryer.  She could read everything.  I never hid it.  I once tried to hide something in my pillow case and I knew by the frozen form of her face when I came home that she’d seen it.  The rites of passage in my life were immediately known to my mother, she felt the cells of my body change.  Mother’s intuition is worth writing poems about.

“He can hear her choosing another arrow flow from the little quiver/ and anger goes straight up like trees in her voice holding his heart tall” (61).

“XVIII. Do you see it as a room or a sponge or a careless sleeve wiping out half the blackboard by mistake or a burgundy mark stamped on the bottles of our minds what is the nature of the dance called memory” (79).

“He still got his clothes at your house? / Some / Throw them out. / Can’t / You know what the rules are for this? / No / That’s because there are no rules for this.  A ship passes, there’s a bit of wake and some spray then it disappears” (111).

Still Victor Hugo, I believe @ Tumblr

I’m just not sure, Anne, that it ever disappears.  I might have ability to leave a man that’s done an absolute wrong to me.  I might have the strength to grab my 27 pairs of shoes, a clean toothbrush, and one bowl and one spoon and walk out the door (because my mother did and I have to live up to at least the totem of what I believe she is), but I’m not sure I’d be able to erase the linger.  I might let it eat at me.  I could so desperately want that man back that I wallow under a couch blanket for weeks.  Where’s the strength in that, I’m not sure, but a little linger, might be better than a lot of stay.

Read this book, learn yourself.

19 thoughts on “Linger: The Story of a Noun.

  1. lucysfootball says:

    You know, I’ll read one of your posts, and I’ll think, “this one’s my favorite, she can’t get any better than this,” and then I’ll read another one and think, “no, wait, it’s this one,” and then the NEXT one comes along, and the next one, and and and…

    This one’s my favorite.

    Until the next one.

    I’ve met a million men (and boys, back when I was the age for such things) who got poems. Men are still getting poems. Boys, who have become men now and are living lives blissfully unaware of my existence, are still living in my mind, with the one perfect thing they did still bright and shiny and new like a penny, begging for my words to surround it with scaffolding and make it eternal.

    I am the queen of the linger.

    This one’s my favorite, for sure. Until the next one.

    • Cassie says:

      Amy! Read this book! You will love it. I just know you will. It’s perfect for the two of us. All her books are amazing, but this one.. Just fantastic. I want to sell it on the street to women everywhere so we can see ourselves in print.

      Men and poems, oh goodness, you don’t even want to know some of the crap I’ve written about that.

  2. Bea says:

    That review was wonderful! It leads me to believe that the book must be fantastic, or how could you write so many beautiful words about it. The “linger” will forever be a noun for me. Your line, “Where’s the strength in that, I’m not sure, but a little linger, might be better than a lot of stay.”, is a very strong truth. I believe that the strong woman doesn’t always get up and get out immediately, she ponders, she lingers, she thinks. The right move for many women is to not ponder, just GO, but we just aren’t built that way. Hopefully, we learn as we linger.
    Of course you wanted me to find all of those notes, small bits of evidence. Why else were they left in full display? Sometimes we all need some “Mom” advice, as teenagers and adults.
    I also loved the quote above on the picture, ” Don’t remain stuck on the same page.” Wonderful blog, keep up the good work.
    p.s. I know the fish aren’t real, but I just can’t stop feeding them!

    • Cassie says:

      Well you are the guiding light that made me so you MUST be a super strong woman. ❤️❤️❤️ love you, momma. I wanted you to find them.

  3. grainsifter says:

    Ahhh the linger, but life is often about that space in between, that is where the secret and subtle richness hides.

    Sometimes I read your words and I want to pour you a cup of tea and calm down your passions, these so fueled by the certainties of youth that become less certain as time passes.

    Others, like in this case, I want to lock you in a room and not let you out until you’ve produced some glorious tome, novelistic, poetic. You have a gift of words, and it is that same passion which twirls them around in lovely and often surprising ways. Write. Write. Write.

    • Cassie says:

      I think at this point it isn’t the words anymore, it’s the ideas that could push through long enough to become a complete story. I think I can semi-manage the words, occasionally, but those novel ideas. How do they even come to people?

      I think I’m going I look back at these when I’m older and laugh at myself (and probably cry at myself), but that’s one of the best parts of this whole blogging thing. :)

      PS. I would love to have a cup of tea with you.

  4. epiphanyhuffman says:

    Cassie, I just want to let you know that getting your posts in my inbox is the greatest thing ever. I haven’t blogged since July and have missed it every step of the way but I’m SO glad I still got your reviews and Newsday Tuesday is basically my newspaper.

    Also, your writing makes me a better writer…truly. Your impeccable taste for word combinations and imagery is nothing short of inspiring. Mr. Miles would be proud :) If I ever get a book published my writing is going to be largely indebted to you, my college English professor, and Madeleine L’Engle. You’re awesome.

    • Cassie says:

      You’re way too sweet to me, dear. I would dedicate my book to this whole blogging community, it’s been amazing. What L’Engle book would you recommend!?!? And I miss you. So so so much. Let’s write letters.

      • epiphanyhuffman says:

        Oh man…if you love imagery and depth of character I think you would LOVE A Wrinkle in Time! I will mail it to you with a letter–two birds with one stone ;) The blogging community is amazing. I’m having to build mine back up again, but that is my own fault! It’s nice to be back in it, and now that I’m in school full time, I feel so inspired to write and have so much content to work with. It’s exciting. Miss you back!

      • Cassie says:

        I just bought one of her books, but I have yet to read it. I wish I could remember what it’s called. It’s right on my shelf in my room and I can see it in my head, but can’t remember the title. I feel like I’m the only person on the planet that hasn’t read A Wrinkle In Time. I need to get on that! How is school, love. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to read about your experience and how you’re learning and what you’re learning in your own words.

      • epiphanyhuffman says:

        School is wonderful! Learning soooo much! I think I might get my doctorate in anthropology. I just love people and trying to understand why they do the things they do. It’s a field of study that I identify with…I can even see myself one day as an anthropology professor where my office hours are “I’ll be at the campus coffee shop if you have any questions!” :D We’ll see! This week is midterms, but I AM back to posting! I have two new ones so far and more in the works…I just have to survive this week!

      • Cassie says:

        AH! I loved my Anthropology class. My professor was Indian so I learned a lot especially about the cultures of India. Very interesting. I am on my way to look at your blog right MEOW, missy. : )

        PS. You would make the most wonderful professor.


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