Monday, July 11, 2011

Lana M. Wiggins and Byron

Knowing the progress of love, in Eros the Bittersweet Anne Carson translates Sappho's "bittersweet" as "sweet-bitter" because that formulation is both accurate to Sappho's language and the mysterious narrative of love. Like Sappho, both Lana Wiggins and Byron, sadly, know their subject only too well and they sound the depths of the long, seemingly forever empty, bitter stage as time and the world pass without personal consequence beyond the dreadful reminder of absence to which they continually "wake." ("What's in your wallet?")

     --Lana M. Wiggins

All week long, I've avoided you.
Tried not to think of your alabaster chambers
against the isochromatic watershed of my regrets,
or the ease in which you power-lifted me
off your shoulders like the albatross I knew I was.
But the spin down of spring break
with a little rain and nowhere to go, nothing to do
makes you the mariachi band at my window
at 2:47 in the morning.
It's been 100 years since you left
carrying your own weight in a tinderbox
of swirled cream and melted chocolate,
headed for a Congo hut and fortunate insights
that would complete my oubliation.
Without articulating the particulars
or exposing the curdled mess I've made of myself,
I want you to know I still suffer your loss.
Even if I prick my finger and fall asleep,
you gnaw on me like candy on enamel
and I wake clench-fisted and displumed
repressing voiceless sounds
only a blue-eyed dog can absorb.


When We Two Parted
--George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow -
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell in mine ear;
A shudder come o'er me -
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well: -
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met -
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee? -
With silence and tears.



Lana M. Wiggins is the author of Notes from Refuge (Lana Maht Wiggins: Plain View Press, 2008) which chronicles her life in New Orleans pre and post-Katrina through poetic narratives. Lana holds a Master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana and has been published in a wide variety of magazines, such as The Deep South Writer's Conference Chapbook, The Southwestern Review, The Smoking Poet, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The Burlington Journal, Moondance, Dance to Death, Words-Myth, Rose and Thorn, and Knock, among others. Lana M. Wiggins currently lives in Lafayette, LA, where she teaches American Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Louisiana.

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