Friday, December 31, 2010

Be Mine


I love this poem, perhaps because I know so well the delicate balance between misanthropy and the kind of bewildering love for humanity that forces you to your knees .  I also love the punning title, which is also the last line of the poem.  Happy new year to everyone.

I love mankind most
when no one's around.
On New Year's Day for instance,
when everything's closed
and I'm driving home on the highway alone
for hours in the narrating rain,
with no exact change,
the collector's booth glowing ahead
in the tumbling dark
like a little lit temple
with an angel inside and a radio
which as I open my window,
a little embarrassed by
my need for change
(until the silence says
it needs no explanation),
is suddenly playing a music more lovely
than any I've ever heard.
And the hand—
so open, so hopeful,
that I feel an urge to kiss it—
lowers the little life-boat of itself
and takes the moist and crumpled prayer
of my dollar bill from me.
Then the tap, tap,
tinkling spill of the roll of coins
broken against the register drawer,
and the hand returning two coins, and a voice
sweeter than the radio's music,
saying, "Have a good one, man."
I would answer that voice if I could—
which of course I can't—
that I've loved it ever since it was born
and probably longer than that.
Though "You too,"
is all I can manage,
I say it with great emotion
in a voice that doesn't sound like me,
though it must be
mine.

-- Paul Hostovsky, from Bending the Notes. © Main Street Ray Publishing company, 2008. 
H/T:  The Writer's Almanac

Above:  "Two Big Black Hearts" (1985) by Jim Dine (DeCordova Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts) 

10 comments:

Carol said...

Welcome to Poetry Friday! We are glad you came! What a great image this poem brings! And yeah, I love the ending too!

Jeannine Atkins said...

This poem made me smile.

Happy Poetry Friday (thanks for coming over to Carol's Corner) -- and happy new year!

Tabatha said...

Did you hear that in the Writer's Almanac? It's a great way to be introduced to lots of wonderful poems! I like the historical aspects of the almanac, too.

Pentimento said...

I didn't hear it, but read it on their website (there's an acknowledgement to the site at the bottom of the post).

Rodak said...

That's beautiful, Pentimento. I particularly like "the narrating rain." And the "it must" preceding the noted "be mine." The need to state a "must" introduces an element of doubt that points, imo, towards the transcendent.

The Cottage Child said...

Happy New Year, Pentimento, and to your sweet family. Thanks again for sharing such lovely things.

Pentimento said...

Thank you so much, CC, and the same to you! God bless.

Mary Lee said...

Welcome to Poetry Friday! I loved that poem when it came to my inbox via Writer's Almanac, and it was fun to read it again with your notes! I didn't notice the title and the end the first time!

Karen E. said...

Wow. I love that. Love the opening lines and the image of the lonely toll booth. But I think that, even more than the poem, I love your words:

"perhaps because I know so well the delicate balance between misanthropy and the kind of bewildering love for humanity that forces you to your knees"

Happy new year, Pentimento.

Melanie B said...

Somehow I missed reading this before. I think I just wasn't in the mood to read poetry that day or there were too many screaming voices for the poem to compete with. But it's lovely.

And seeing the photo of the hearts sculpture reminds me how very long it's been since I've visited the DeCordova museum. I don't recall that piece being there; but it's probably been about 8 years since my last visit. How time slips away!