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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Some Lies for You; We kissed

By: Barbara Daniels

Some Lies for You

I don’t need green velvet. No candles,

no wine. Just day closing so slowly

it lasts forever, sun slipping quietly

under the hill. Darkness laddering

down the tall sky. Everything sags

in the middle—middle age, midweek,

mid-project, any project. I left

unlocked doors and elm-shaded streets

for interesting troubles. I tried to

find out if drinking does anything

for the soul. For awhile it gave me

those noir rhythms, short sentences,

spectacular week-long hangovers.

Wait. That’s your story, isn’t it? You’re

sick of drivenness, sick of the midpoint,

just as I’m sick of my dryness.

I know I’m a user, taking stories

and putting them out there as mine.

You push those stories over lines

on chalked sidewalks. You drop

bottles. I bore us both with the lies.

We kissed

on uneven sidewalks

outside a Greek restaurant, on dirty

stairs where my favorite professor

caught us, up on a landing, down in

the subway. Kissed slowly, crowds

moving toward us. You had a friend

with one room, a wall of Stetsons,

straw boaters, Mets caps. You brought

a rose. I thought once only,

you would tire of me once you

tried me. Out in the hills, you left

the key in a motel door in your hurry.

I gravely asked for your paladin body,

heard snow hiss and the key slap

the door: now, now, now, now.

On my bare body you traced paired

parabolas. I pitied stairs, hats, hills,

trees because they could not love you.


Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

“Some Lies for You” addresses the vexed question of appropriating other people’s stories in poems. Some people seem to live in dread of appearing in my poems, but others take a certain grim pride in it. I know I’m a user, as the poem acknowledges, and I’m not saying here whose story this poem tells.

“We kissed” confesses to a passionate affair with the man I’ve been married to now for more than thirty years. My favorite professor at NYU, Leonard Dean, caught us kissing on the stairs. And a friend offered his studio apartment complete with his collection of hats. It’s wonderful good luck that the man I fell in love with then continues to be a marvelous companion. I wrote this poem during one of those poem-a-day writing marathons. The result, as you see, is a poem on a subject I wouldn’t have chosen had I not been pushing against my limits.


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