Monday, January 12, 2015

I Don't Have a Pill for That - Deborah Landau

It scares me to watch
a woman hobble along
the sidewalk, hunched adagio

leaning on -
there's so much fear
I could draw you a diagram

of the great reduction
all of us will soon
be way-back-when.

The wedding is over.
Summer is over.
Life please explain.

The book is nearly halfway read.
I don't have a pill for that,
the doctor said.

This poem swings back and forth between lucidity (full sentences) and fragments of thought, seemingly unconnected, incomplete scenes.  There's a sense of desperation about it ("Life please explain.") and I can't help but feel that this poem is far out of the depth of my experience.  I don't know what it's like to need medication, to need a pill for that.  Despite my lack of experience, I think this poem could represent what mania is like.  The line, "The book is nearly halfway read" means that life is almost halfway over.  No pill to reverse aging, certainly.

I'm sure there are meanings I could try to extract from the scenes that open the poem up, the woman hobbling along, the idea of us being way-back-when, but I'm not sure I see the point.  There's no magic pill that can explain the poem to me, or that can give a correct meaning to these scenes.  It could very well be that these lines are meant to confuse, to seem muddled, as if you should be able to understand them but you're not able.

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