Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's the birthday of poet Jennifer Michael Hecht, (books by this author) born in Glen Cove, New York (1965). She's the author of The Next Ancient World (2001) and Funny (2005).

Her poem "Blind Love" begins:

Lady says, Doc, I think I need glasses.
Teller says, You sure do, Lady, this is a bank.

In the poem "History," she describes Eve in the Garden of Eden as "the only soul in all of time / to never have to wait for love," who "wished to trade-in all of Eden / to have but been a child."

She's also a scholar of intellectual history; she has a Ph.D. from Columbia — in the History of Science. She's the author of Doubt: A History (2003), The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism and Anthropology (2003), and The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong (2007).

The Story of My Life

by Jennifer Michael Hecht

Each day goes down in history, wets its feet,
bathes in the clear or murky stream, drinks deep,
comes out to join past days on the other bank.
We go in with the bathing day, every morning,
brace the shiver on our skin, taste the slaking
of thirst, find footing on mossy rock. Climb out
with sleep. Waking, we're back on the first bank,
wading with a new day into the kaleidoscopic
water. Days far from either bank are barely seen
and seem unseeing. There is no recording of them
that knows the cold and quenching of their moment
in the water. Yet I cannot let them go, nor bear
the strong suggestion formed by their fading figures
that they have let us go and that those coming cannot
be foretold anything actual of water, flesh, or stone.
Publisher holds out a large envelope says, Sorry.
We can't publish your autobiography.

Man sighs, says, Story of my life.
All these words, then, are only for the stream?
The stream is everything? The stream is not enough?
The specters on the banks are deaf but listening?

"Story of My Life" by Jennifer Michael Hecht from Funny. © University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.

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