Kim Bridgford

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BIO

Kim Bridgford is the current director of Poetry by the Sea:  A Global Conference.  She is the past director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States.  As the editor of Mezzo Cammin, she founded The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which was launched at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington in March 2010, and celebrated its first fifty essays at Fordham at Lincoln Center in April.  Her collaborative work with the visual artist Jo Yarrington has been honored with a Ucross fellowship. Bridgford is the author of eight books of poetry, including Bully Pulpit, a book of poems on bullying; Epiphanies, a book of religious poems; and the recently released Doll. She has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Connecticut Post, on NPR and the website of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and in various headline news outlets.

 

DONE

1.

Darling, you scared me. You said you were done.
It was like breathing tears or tasting rain.
Trembling, you wanted to start all over again.
This is how history’s written and rewritten.

There are things you learn that you can never say,
But people say them. They say them every day.
They say things as if they just discovered pain:
“I’ve never felt like this,” “She knows how to listen.”

Darling, you scared me. This is another you.
A you that’s grown out of the used-to-you:
The fresh-start you. This is the take-a-breather you.
It’s hard to sit here, so erased from you.

This is the reason that most people lie.
Whatever has grown cold will only die.

2.

Whatever has grown cold will only die.
This is the reason that most people lie.

It’s hard to sit here, so erased from you,
The fresh-start you. This is the take-breather you,
A you that’s grown out of the used-to-you.
Darling, you scared me. This is another you:
“I’ve never felt like this,” “She knows how to listen.”

They say things. As if they just discovered them.
But people say them: they say them every day.
There are things you learn that you can never say.

This is how history’s written and rewritten.
Trembling, you wanted to start all over again.
It was like breathing tears or tasting rain,
Darling. You scared me. You said you were done.

 

LINDBERGH BABY KIDNAPPING

1. The Baby

It’s dark here in the leaves, and I am cold.
I wonder what will happen to me now.
I want to be back home, not in this field.
My father is like stone, and he will punish.

The sounds I hear approach, and then they vanish.

This is like a fairy tale: for gold
A child is given. Then there’s the rescue.
I’m tired of being put outside, compelled.

What is that coming toward me? I think wings,
Or life undone into a thousand things.
The pain is like an airplane, its propeller.
I wonder if it’s part of my own failure.
I’d like to go back home. I am so tired.
I’m left beneath the stars and undesired.

2. Anne, Some Years Later

I’m left beneath the stars and undesired.
I’d like to go back home: I am so tired.
I wonder if it’s part of my own failure.
The pain is like an airplane, its propeller,
Or life undone into a thousand things.

What is that coming toward me? I think wings.

I’m tired of being put outside, compelled.
A child is given. Then there’s the rescue.
This is like a fairy tale: for gold—

The sounds I hear approach, and then they vanish.

My heart is like a stone, and it will punish.

I want to be back home, not in this field.
I wonder what will happen to me now.
It’s dark here in the leaves, and I am cold.

*After a nation-wide search, the baby was eventually found, having been clubbed to death within five miles of his house.

 

PATTY HEARST SONNET

Tell everybody that I’m smiling, that I feel
free and strong and I send my greetings
and love to all the sisters and brothers out
there
(on being arrested for bank
robbery).

Patty Hearst

I remember watching you on video:
You robbed the bank, the focus of the scene.
What did you feel? I didn’t seem to know.
I was transfixed by your strange glamour, though.

I remember you were grainy, but still you:
As if they made you up, but brought you down.
There was something exciting, in what you’d been through
(The crease of media ambivalence
Would voyeurize me with experience).
I didn’t know what you were going to do.

In that one moment, to mythologize,
You became another person for our eyes.
An heiress/outlaw, carrying your gun,
Released from our constraints, you now had none.

 

*****