Denise Duhamel
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 104
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award.InBlowout,Denise Duhamel asks the same question that Frankie Lyman & the Teenagers asked back in 1954-"Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" Duhamel's poems readily admit that she is a love-struck fool, but also embrace the "crazy wisdom" of the Fool of the Tarot deck and the fool as entertainer or jester. From a kindergarten crush to a failed marriage and beyond, Duhamel explores the nature of romantic love and her own limitations. She also examines love through music, film, and history-Michelle and Barak Obama's inauguration and Cleopatra's ancient sex toy. Duhamel chronicles the perilous cruelties of love gone awry, but also reminds us of the compassion and transcendence in the aftermath. In "Having a Diet Coke with You," she asserts that "love poems are the most difficult poems to write / because each poem contains its opposite its loss / and that no matter how fierce the love of a couple / one of them will leave the other / if not through betrayal / then through death." Yet, inBlowout,Duhamel fiercely and foolishly embraces the poetry of love.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7864-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. ONE
    • How It Will End
      (pp. 3-4)
    • Duper’s Delight
      (pp. 5-5)
    • If You Really Want to
      (pp. 6-7)
    • Madonna and Me
      (pp. 8-11)
    • Mack
      (pp. 12-13)

      Iʹd never seen a truck so up close, felt its heat, the word MACK in caps at my left shoulder. I was trying to cross Houston Street to get to Second Avenue. It was three or four in the afternoon, right after the mail came, and I was going to a café to write, my laptop strapped across my back. Iʹd had an argument with my husband because Iʹd just opened our bills and heʹd ordered porn through our cable company when I was away. Heʹd rented five or six movies—it was over $50. We didnʹt have $50 extra,...

    • Tina and the Bruised Hearts
      (pp. 14-15)
    • Takeout, 2008
      (pp. 16-20)
    • Ritual
      (pp. 21-21)

      At two a.m. I unlocked our wedding picture from its silver frame and headed to the ocean. I packed a flashlight and a box of matches, but the wind would not let me burn our marriage away. No matter how I positioned our bodies or tried to block us from a brewing tropical storm, his side of the picture wouldnʹt catch fire. His stubborn cummerbund, his bowtie. I tried to set myself in flames. My veil, my fake crystal earrings. The picture was dampening in my hands.

      I dug a hole and forced us into it. His tiny sideburns, my...

    • Recession Commandments
      (pp. 22-24)
    • Heartburn
      (pp. 25-26)
    • An Unmarried Woman
      (pp. 27-28)
  4. TWO
    • Kindergarten Boyfriend
      (pp. 31-31)
    • Fourth Grade Boyfriend
      (pp. 32-32)
    • My Shortcut
      (pp. 33-34)
    • Lower East Side Boyfriend
      (pp. 35-36)
    • The Widow
      (pp. 37-38)
    • Loaded
      (pp. 39-40)
    • Cleopatra Invented the First Vibrator
      (pp. 41-41)
    • My New Chum
      (pp. 42-43)
    • A Different Story
      (pp. 44-45)
    • You’re Looking at the Love Interest
      (pp. 46-47)
    • Or Wherever Your Final Destination May Be
      (pp. 48-50)

      The spring before my husband left me, I sat next to a flirt on the plane. He was a businessman, kind of cute, with curly black hair. I did my best to flirt back. I was so unused to aggressive men that, though I was flattered, I cringed a bit, too.

      ʺYour voice is so sexy,ʺ he said.


      ʺI mean, you end each sentence by lowering your voice.ʺ

      I realized I was not being myself—I usually ended each sentence in a question. People pointed it out all the time.

      I didnʹt reply because I was self-conscious.

      I was...

    • Courtship
      (pp. 51-51)
    • Worst Case Scenario
      (pp. 52-53)

      Your house washes away to sea. The whoosh is subliminal. Youʹre terminal. Itʹs totaled. They say youʹre a floozy. The trapeze comes loose. Youʹre ten minutes late. He leaves you. He leaves you for someone else. He betrays you and begs you to stay. He dies. You dye it back to the original color. You move. You become a maven of rot. You sell the antique teapot. You canʹt stop the infection. He wins the election. Reconstructive surgery. You adopt. The child will adapt. You divorce. They use force. You get your cards replaced. Your mortgage balloons into a double...

    • And So
      (pp. 54-57)
    • Old Love Poems
      (pp. 58-59)
    • Expired
      (pp. 60-60)
  5. THREE
    • Little Icaruses
      (pp. 63-63)
    • Violenza Sessuale
      (pp. 64-64)
    • My Strip Club
      (pp. 65-65)
    • Victor
      (pp. 66-68)
    • You Don’t Get to Tell Me What to Do Ever Again
      (pp. 69-70)
    • Self-Portrait in Hydrogen Peroxide
      (pp. 71-72)
    • Proposal
      (pp. 73-74)
    • Ten Days before We Meet, I Dream You
      (pp. 75-77)
    • I Read
      (pp. 78-78)

      the heart beats 100,000 times a day, which leads me to think I could write a poem 100,000 words long, each word a beat, each beat how I feel about you. Each word would have two syllables, words mimicking tic-toc, ocean, thunk-thunk—trochee, iamb, a few spondees thrown in for when Iʹm really pounding. I do the math and realize my potential poem will be 300 pages, no punctuation or sentences, only word after word—and it will probably take you a whole day to read, a full 24 hours, and the poem will probably make sense only if you...

    • Long Distance Relationship
      (pp. 79-80)
    • Sleep Seeds
      (pp. 81-82)
    • Having a Diet Coke with You
      (pp. 83-88)
    • Ode to Your Eyebrows
      (pp. 89-90)
    (pp. 91-92)
  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 93-93)