for edna st. vincent millay
yrs was a true voice of yr generation,
"[…a friend ]told me of seeing her years ago in
Greenwich Village running around the corner of
Macdougal Street, flushed & laughing 'like a
nymph,' with her hair swinging…"
vincent, spoken with feeling rising up
from yr toes, transgressive & traditional,
yet patently postmodern, not unlike the
conflicted contradictions in yr own life.
an anchor for bohemian identity &
unrepentant feminist compass pointing to
emancipated love, u slept with women &
men, a sappho for those wide-eyed girls
at vassar who came joyeously to yr bed.
but then u parked & abandoned yr
lesbianism at graduation to pursue multiple
male sex partners, often several in a day for
the rest of yr life. never truly a lesbian,
but always a thespian, u showed us how
to fling pretty follies aside, how to repel
or embrace murderous emotion, how to
repel or embrace interloping death in
traditional tetrameter, in simple minimalist
couplets containing the profound & the
mystical, in concussive sonnets bursting
with images descriptive of rapture, of
powerful forces, cosmic & soular,
within & without & in collision.
© Joseph McNair; 2009