Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


I'm Over the Moon

I don't like what the moon is supposed to do.
Confuse me, ovulate me,

spoon-feed me longing. A kind of ancient
date-rape drug. So I'll howl at you, moon,

I'm angry. I'll take back the night. Using me to
swoon at your questionable light,

you had me chasing you,
the world's worst lover, over and over

hoping for a mirror, a whisper, insight.
But you disappear for nights on end

with all my erotic mysteries
and my entire unconscious mind.

How long do I try to get water from a stone?
It's like having a bad boyfriend in a good band.

Better off alone. I'm going to write hard
and fast into you moon, face-fucking.

Something you wouldn't understand.
You with no swampy sexual

promise but what we glue onto you.
That's not real. You have no begging

cunt. No panties ripped off and the crotch
sucked. No lacerating spasms

sending electrical sparks through the toes.
Stars have those.

What do you have? You're a tool, moon.
Now, noon. There's a hero.

The obvious sun, no bulls hit, the enemy
of poets and lovers, sleepers and creatures.

But my lovers have never been able to read
my mind. I've had to learn to be direct.

It's hard to learn that, hard to do.
The sun is worth ten of you.

You don't hold a candle
to that complexity, that solid craze.

Like an animal carcass on the road at night,
picked at by crows,

haunting walkers and drivers. Your face
regularly sliced up by the moving

frames of car windows. Your light is drawn,
quartered, your dreams are stolen.

You change shape and turn away,
letting night solve all night's problems alone.

Credit


From Human Dark with Sugar by Brenda Shaughnessy. Published by Copper Canyon Press, 2008. Copyright © Brenda Shaughnessy. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.

Author


Brenda Shaughnessy

Brenda Shaughnessy was born in Okinawa, Japan in 1970 and grew up in Southern California. She received her BA in literature and women’s studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and she earned an MFA at Columbia University.

She is the author of five poetry collections: Tanya (Knopf, 2023); Liquid Flesh (Bloodaxe, 2022); The Octopus Museum (Alfred A. Knopf, 2019), a New York Times 2019 Notable Book; So Much Synth (Copper Canyon Press, 2016); Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press 2012), a finalist for the Griffin International Prize, the PEN/Open Book Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Prize; Human Dark with Sugar (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008; and Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), which was nominated for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, a Lambda Literary Award, and the Norma Farber First Book Award. 

About her work, the poet Richard Howard writes: “The resonance of Shaughnessy’s poems is that of someone speaking out of an ecstasy and into an ecstasy, momentarily pausing to let us in on the fun, the pain.”

Shaughnessy received a 2018 Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is a 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, a recipient of a Howard Foundation Fellowship from Brown University, a 2001 Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and a Japan/US Friendship Commission Artist Fellowship. She currently serves as an associate professor at Rutgers University–Newark. Shaughnessy will be guest editor for Poem-a-Day in March 2022.  


Bibliography

Tanya (Knopf, 2023)
Liquid Flesh (Bloodaxe, 2022)
The Octopus Museum (Alfred A. Knopf, 2019)
So Much Synth (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)
Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press 2012)
Human Dark with Sugar (Copper Canyon Press, 2008)
Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999)

Date Published: 2008-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/im-over-moon