OLD AND YOUNG

Literary Hub Poem of the Week

May 27, 2015  By Frank Bidart
0


Frank Bidart’s new poem brings us back to that dance of self across time through the plural openings of eyes, mirrors, others. Meditative, obsessive, vulnerable, this poet’s signature traits remind us how much looking is still a live performance. Yet Bidart’s familiar imagery is sly and estranging. Where most of us, poets especially, inside the proverbial looking-glass might find only ourselves, Bidart’s art has always been about permitting other voices into the most intimate, if fleeting, interiors. Such looking surely has its erotic tension, but more essentially, “Old and Young” bets on the side of artistic scrupulousness. Glances pass, bodies age, but the poem is where we meet.   

—Adam Fitzgerald, Poetry Editor


 

 

Article continues after advertisement

 

OLD AND YOUNG

 

If you have looked at someone in

a mirror

looking at you in the mirror

 

your eyes meeting

there

not face to face

 

*

 

backstage as you

prepare

for a performance

 

*

 

you look into the long horizontal

mirror

that backs the long theatrical

 

make-up table that runs along one

wall of the high dressing-room aerie

from which you must descend to the stage

 

*

 

there in the mirror you see

his eyes

looking into your eyes in the mirror

 

where you

plural

amused begin to talk

 

suddenly inspired not

to look at each other

directly but held by this third

 

thing as his eyes

allow your eyes to

follow his eyes in the mirror

 

you ask if anyone has ever

made a movie

in which two people talk not

 

directly to each other but during

the entire

static but dynamic

 

film as they go about their lives

their eyes are

locked staring at each other in a mirror

 

that they together hold a few feet

above them

or beside them

 

knowing if they look away

they will lose

what they now possess

 

trapped but freed

neither knowing

why this is better

 

why this

as long as no one enters

is release

 

because you are

twice

his age

 

THIS IS THE PLACE IN

NATURE

WE CAN MEET

 

space which

every other

space merely approximates

 

you ask again if

anybody made a movie

about this

 

*

 

others

enter loudly and when you

plural each look away you plural soon go on




Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart's most recent collection of poems, Metaphysical Dog, was the 2013 recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award.









More Story
Return to The South: On Colm Tóibín's First Novel On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program, the B&N Review is...