Marilyn Hacker

(1942 / The Bronx, New York City, New York)

Invocation - Poem by Marilyn Hacker

This is for Elsa, also known as Liz,
an ample-bosomed gospel singer: five
discrete malignancies in one full breast.
This is for auburn Jacqueline, who is
celebrating fifty years alive,
one since she finished chemotherapy.
with fireworks on the fifteenth of July.
This is for June, whose words are lean and mean
as she is, elucidating our protest.
This is for Lucille, who shines a wide
beam for us with her dark cadences.
This is for long-limbed Maxine, astride
a horse like conscience. This is for Aline
who taught her lover how to caress the scar.
This is for Eve, who thought of AZT
while hopeful poisons pumped into a vein.
This is for Nanette in the Midwest.
This is for Alicia, shaking back dark hair,
dancing one-breasted with the Sabbath bride.
This is for Judy on a mountainside,
plunging her gloved hands in a glistening hive.
Hilda, Patricia, Gaylord, Emilienne,
Tania, Eunice: this is for everyone
who marks the distance on a calendar
from what's less likely each year to "recur."
Our saved-for-now lives are life sentences
-- which we prefer to the alternative.

Comments about Invocation by Marilyn Hacker

  • (5/27/2016 10:48:00 PM)

    Simply awesome write dipped in outstanding moral courage. Hats off. (Report) Reply

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  • Susan Williams (5/27/2016 8:51:00 PM)

    Well-written tribute to the courage of those who find deeper lives each in their own way (Report) Reply

  • Is It Poetry James Mclain (5/27/2016 6:53:00 PM)

    Lives saved to grind away until it's dark.. iip (Report) Reply

  • Jayatissa K. Liyanage (5/27/2016 10:38:00 AM)

    How not to hold high and above the best alternative to the worst thing that can happen? Invocation is an appreciative effort by the poetess, for a clan warranting love, sympathy and care. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/27/2016 4:27:00 AM)

    Nice dedication. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Moira Cameron (5/27/2016 1:22:00 AM)

    Powerful and inspiring! (Report) Reply

  • Jasbir Chatterjee (5/27/2016 12:47:00 AM)

    lovely poem, especially this line, Our saved-for-now lives are life sentences... Congrats on being poet of the day! (Report) Reply

  • (11/29/2011 5:59:00 PM)

    Wow, what a tribute to the lives we have left after the diagnosis. I salute your
    creativity and empathy, in this invocation to staying alive.
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: july, june, horse, dark, hair, dance

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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