A Certain Attitude
Edited by Laura Kennelly
Poems by seven Texas women (Laura Kennelly, Frances Trevino, Sheryl St.
Germain, Giuli Coniglio, Lynn Hoggard, SuAnne Doak and Vicky Lee
Santiesteban) are included in A Certain Attitude. This one is by the
editor (the publisher insisted), Laura Kennelly:
Helen with Insomnia at the Clavier
Paris was not the first. Did you think he was? How quaint.
There was Agamemnon, yes. His own brother.
At my wedding feast he fondled my breasts,
laughed, called my husband a lucky man.
After a while resisting seemed more
trouble than it was worth.
He loved me. But lover her, Clytemnestra, too. He said.
I think he loved power rich life more.
But his was a nasty family: ate each other.
That he didn't carry me off was all right.
It was less all right with Odysseus. No one
ever dreamed that when I walked long walks at
night I did not walk alone. No one ever saw
how we twined and tangled and became one,
startling night birds from the trees we sported
under. His stories, his laugh, his lips I could
have hung on forever.
But he was a hearth lover too. Stuck on status quo:
There she sat, always patiently waiting, lovely
Penelope. Slight smile on her perfect face--Oh,
I excited him more, but he's really a
coward--don't you know--it wold have broken his
dear wife's heart and ruined his boy,
By the time Paris came, I was more than ready.
It's boring, you know, to be an old man's toy.
Of course I jumped: A foreign city, passionate
lover. (I never thought, then, to wonder why he
was so experienced, so knowing.) Yes, I went with him.
Yet now he wanders from me and
the battlefield, chasing women, fleeing
slaughter, crying "Mama"
till she sweeps him to safety in a golden mist.
And the only real man here is tied
to Andromache. I've seen the looks he gives me--
A man like that knows how to love his wife--
which (don't laugh) means
I can never have him,
but just once, I'd like to strip that plumed
helmet off his head, loosen the armor plate,
touch his skin and bring him to fevers,
feel his sweat dripping on
my body stretched beneath his--
And, yes, it's too bad about the war,
but Aphrodite, after all, is not Athena.
Love cannot be expected to think