stephen dunn | the imagined

22 08 2011

POETRY DISPATCH No. 350 | August 21, 2011



If the imagined woman makes the real woman
seem bare-boned, hardly existent, lacking in
gracefulness and intellect and pulchritude,
and if you come to realize the imagined woman
can only satisfy your imagination, whereas
the real woman with all her limitations
can often make you feel good, how, in spite
of knowing this, does the imagined woman
keep getting into your bedroom, and joining you
at dinner, why is it that you always bring her along
on vacations when the real woman is shopping,
or figuring the best way to the museum?

…………………………And if the real woman
has an imagined man, as she must, someone
probably with her at this very moment, in fact
doing and saying everything she’s ever wanted,
would you want to know that he slips in
to her life every day from a secret doorway
she’s made for him, that he’s present even when
you’re eating your omelette at breakfast,
or do you prefer how she goes about the house
as she does, as if there were just the two of you?
Isn’t her silence, finally, loving? And yours
not entirely self-serving? Hasn’t the time come,

…………………………once again, not to talk about it?

[from THE NEW YORKER, March 14, 2011]



13 responses

22 08 2011
Jennifer Fish

Very interesting.. really like this!

22 08 2011
Donald O'Donovan

Loved the poem. But can anyone tell me who did the cover art? I’d like to see more of his/her work.

22 08 2011

I love this. Thanks for posting it.

22 08 2011
Ralph Murre

Now, here’s a poem that gets down to it. Reality, and accepting it, gets better all the time.
And in answer to Donald O’Donovan, I think the artwork may be by one Norbert Blei, who is far too little known for that facet of his abilities.

22 08 2011
Steve Fortney


22 08 2011

Good, one of my favorite poets. Another great painting too. This site is beautiful as well as interesting. Keep the art work coming with the words–this one in particular sings.

22 08 2011
Jean Casey

Rats! Dunn done disclose our deepest secrets! Nothing left to hide behind, even a fig leaf. I like the picture of you with your grass “halo” hung behind you on the Clearing Schoolhouse wall! Blessings…

22 08 2011
Alice D'Alessio

Jeez Norb – is that your art! Why can’t I buy some? Dunn’s poetry is okay, but your art is magnificent.

22 08 2011
S. Shields

Beautifully expressed, but sad too because in the best marriage or partnership one does not even entertain thoughts about an “ideal” but non-attainable partner. At least that was the case with my marriage of 43 years. It was simply unnecessary to make any comparisons.

22 08 2011
Bridget Blei Buff

Nice. The beautiful artwork has to be that of Norbert Blei. I see a young Norbert Blei within the piece itself. I would recognize my dad anywhere. xo

23 08 2011
Donald O'Donovan

Thanks Ralph and others for identifying the smashing art work as that of Norbert Blei. Great stuff. Childlike, yet sophisticated, intricate, mesmerizing. Now, where can I see more? I’m a painter myself, and this is exactly the sort of thing I would do if I were any good. I’ll be honest… I want to see more of Norbert’s work so I can pick up some tricks to incorporate in my own work. As Picasso said, “I don’t borrow; I steal!”

25 08 2011
Barbara Vroman

LIke many others I recognized the painting to be yours at once…which shows that you have your own unique style and grace. As for the “imagined one:, just want to repeat a little story.

After creating paradise God went down into the garden one day to ask Adam how he liked it. Adam said it was great, except he was lonely. God said he could fix that right away. He would create a woman companion for him who was gorgeous, dependable, brilliant, exciting, generous, erotic, tender, etc, etc. Only, God said, it would cost Adam an arm and leg.
Adam thought about it for a minute, then he said, “What could I get for a rib.”

3 09 2011
adrienne rocha

today is my other day…A

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