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Commentary Poetry

National Poetry Month Celebration: Ai, Twenty Year Marriage

 “All the best poetry is about ‘-ing’s’: eating, drinking, eating, sleeping, wanting, loving, hating, fucking–you know, thinking and feeling, and living, and dying.”  This has been one of my very favorite poems since the first time I read it, decades ago, and it seems the older I get, the better it works for me.

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Twenty-year Marriage By Ai

You keep me waiting in a truck
with its one good wheel stuck in the ditch,
while you piss against the south side of a tree.
Hurry. I’ve got nothing on under my skirt tonight.
That still excites you, but this pickup has no windows
and the seat, one fake leather thigh,
pressed close to mine is cold.
I’m the same size, shape, make as twenty years ago,
but get inside me, start the engine;
you’ll have the strength, the will to move.
I’ll pull, you push, we’ll tear each other in half.
Come on, baby, lay me down on my back.
Pretend you don’t owe me a thing
and maybe we’ll roll out of here,
leaving the past stacked up behind us;
old newspapers nobody’s ever got to read again.