Anne Waldman
From Marriage: A Sentence

Say “bells” say “buckskin leggings” say “drumstick” say “domestic” say “throb” say “cautionary” say “quit it” say “I don’t” say “gray sky, mountain shadow” say “men are working” say “women are sleeping” say “there are messages coming in” say “for you” say “there’s so much to do” say “they want you doing a rhumba for the Chiapas benefit” say “I’ll do it” “with a pretty dress (red) on” “we can wiggle our hips” she says & “catch a man.” Say we can. “We can.” Say “women come on weekends to give themselves to lovers” say “army camp” say “they married before he went to war” say “he died in war” say “She lived many years beyond” say “they were killed in the church,” whole families say “they took out the men” in the other place. Say “Joan of Arc married to her faith” say “we are being tested.” Say “many voices” say “many trials” say “polyphonic” say “human” say “the pathless forest” say “we enter the kinetic” “the virtual dumb-show” say “we go hand in hand.”


Mother-in-law is absolute tyrannical law is dietary law is the vittles on the table law. Law of any land a mother claims a sentence. Or motherhood mar her paragraph. We could be in Italy. We could be in Ireland. Love, a penance. Marriage a transience. Nuances of every gesture accompany your child-borne mood. Nuances are odd & prepared to you by tyranny’s food. Buy her humor being store bought. When she was an old country handmaiden she could make those dumplings by hand. Before she was a new country librarian she would have time on her kitchen hands. When you are married words at an inlawed table beecome weightier nuance. Outlawed you are out on the street again in Bulgaria. In Poland. In Russia. In Buchenwald. And resist being eaten. You bite on words you chew on them you spit them out you sort them out you exile them from the kitchen. You ransom them from holidays. And sing around the holidays extolling the virtues of ceremonial food. You will eat that blessed cracker. Or wreath of chilli. You will you will. A child will ask questions. You will pray at a table for the rain to fall for the ship to come in. We are thankful for this inter-married food the work of many beings & the suffering of other forms of life.
                —mother grace


Whose whose property property is whose whose in the origin origin of marriage marriage. In in the the not not always always but sometimes sometimes gloom & doom gloom & doom of marriage marriage. Would would a person perosn buy buy another another. Could could a person person buy buy another another arrange arrange another another & be another’s another’s sometime sometime body body captor captor. When Diego held the paintbrushes? A rapture maybe. Mister Mister. A rupture. And make it a bond for arrangement of the other’s mind & body parts. Hearts. Mrs. Mrs. and soul. And black market organs organs. And sexual psyche. Might be. Could another buy another in such a way as to own a sexual soul psyche. You who are a buying kind tell me. Joint accounts are a trusting way to go some think others are burned in the shopping spree of broad daylight. And if if separation separation set sets in in beware beware the turning turning tide tide. Start labeling. This this is mine mine no no this this is mine mine. The child is mine. This this is surely surely mine mine. I don’t think so it used to be mine mine before you were mine mine. You were never a goldmine you might add although you were mine. Things things mount up up to chastise you in their frenzy frenzy. Custody custody is brutal brutal. (one voice) Custody is brutal.
               —shopping spree

Found In Volume 29, No. 01
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Anne Waldman
About the Author

Anne Waldman has been an active member of the “Outrider” experimental poetry community for over forty years as a writer, professor, and political activist. She has published over forty volumes of poetry, the most recent of which isManatee/Humanity(Penguin, 2009).