"Home is the place where, when
you have to go there, They have to take you in."
--Robert Frost, "The
Death of the Hired Man"
Even past the deadbolts of our homes, there are sanctums and
inner sanctums, places of lesser and greater intimacy. There are the
spots that are "just for show"--the parlor, the guest towels--and
places of greater intimacy, of which no place is more intimate than the bedroom.
The bedroom is where we rest and romp, where we let our "wobbly bits"
hang out, and so we have to craft a room that will take us in every single time
we lie there, in every state, so that our bedroom becomes not just a place for
scented candles, but for the crumpled tissues of sickness and soul-sickness.
If it were just about buying the right things to achieve this effect, we'd
be golden, and AT would be a different kind of site. But it's an inside job.
Jack Gilbert has a poem about the insistence it takes to really get intimate:
Tear It Down
We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of racoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within the body.
-- Jack Gilbert,
Great Fires: Poems 1982-1992, 2001.
Gilbert aloud on NPR
Gilbert webcast from the Library of Congress
Photo credit: !_flashback