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The Beauty of the Husband

The Beauty of the Husband Cover

 

 

Excerpt

II. BUT A DEDICATION IS ONLY FELICITOUS IF PERFORMED BEFORE WITNESSES — IT IS AN ESSENTIALLY PUBLIC SURRENDER LIKE THAT OF STANDARDS OF BATTLE

You know I was married years ago and when he left my husband took my notebooks.

Wirebound notebooks.

You know that cool sly verb write. He liked writing, disliked having to start

each thought himself.

Used my starts to various ends, for example in a pocket I found a letter he'd begun

(to his mistress at that time)

containing a phrase I had copied from Homer: 'entropalizomenh is how Homer says

Andromache went

after she parted from Hektor — "often turning to look back"

she went

down from Troy's tower and through stone streets to her loyal husband's

house and there

with her women raised a lament for a living man in his own halls.

Loyal to nothing

my husband. So why did I love him from early girlhood to late middle age

and the divorce decree came in the mail?

Beauty. No great secret. Not ashamed to say I loved him for his beauty.

As I would again

if he came near. Beauty convinces. You know beauty makes sex possible.

Beauty makes sex sex.

You if anyone grasp this — hush, let's pass

to natural situations.

Other species, which are not poisonous, often have colorations and patterns

similar to poisonous species.

This imitation of a poisonous by a nonpoisonous species is called mimicry.

My husband was no mimic.

You will mention of course the war games. I complained to you often enough

when they were here all night

with the boards spread out and rugs and little lamps and cigarettes like Napoleon's

tent I suppose,

who could sleep? All in all my husband was a man who knew more

about the Battle of Borodino

than he did about his own wife's body, much more! Tensions poured up the walls

and along the ceiling,

sometimes they played Friday night till Monday morning straight through, he

and his pale wrathful friends.

They sweated badly. They ate meats of the countries in play.

Jealousy

formed no small part of my relationship to the Battle of Borodino.

I hate it.

Do you.

Why play all night.

The time is real.

It's a game.

It's a real game.

Is that a quote.

Come here.

No.

I need to touch you.

No.

Yes.

That night we made love "the real way" which we had not yet attempted

although married six months.

Big mystery. No one knew where to put their leg and to this day I'm not sure

we got it right.

He seemed happy. You're like Venice he said beautifully.

Early next day

I wrote a short talk ("On Defloration") which he stole and had published

in a small quarterly magazine.

Overall this was a characteristic interaction between us.

Or should I say ideal.

Neither of us had ever seen Venice.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780676974751
Publisher:
Vintage Canada
Location:
Toronto
Author:
Carson, Anne
Subject:
Marriage
Subject:
Adultery
Subject:
Married people
Subject:
General Poetry
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
LS-377E
Publication Date:
20020219
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
8.02 x 5.15 x .43 in .4031 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

The Beauty of the Husband
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Product details 160 pages Vintage Canada - English 9780676974751 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The Beauty Of The Husband is an essay on Keatss idea that beauty is truth, and is also the story of a marriage. It is told in 29 tangos. A tango (like a marriage) is something you have to dance to the end.

This clear-eyed, brutal, moving, darkly funny book tells a single story in an immediate, accessible voice 29 “tangos” of narrative verse that take us vividly through erotic, painful, and heartbreaking scenes from a long-time marriage that falls apart. Only award-winning poet Anne Carson could create a work that takes on the oldest of lyrical subjects love and make it this powerful, this fresh, this devastating.

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