Eileen Myles Reads “For My Rampant Muse, For Her”
By Maria Popova
The poet, novelist, memoirist, lesbian icon, and onetime presidential candidate Eileen Myles (b. December 9, 1949) once overheard someone using the phrase “a rampant lesbian.” With delighted recognition, she did what poets do and wrested from this curious packet of language the makings of a poem.
In her altogether magnificent Design Matters conversation with Debbie Millman, Myles reads “For My Rampant Muse, For Her” — an homage to her friend Robert Creely and his influential 1962 poetry collection For Love. The poem is found in Myles’s Maxfield Parrish: Early & New Poems (public library).
FOR MY RAMPANT MUSE, FOR HER
Tuesday night reading For Love on
my bed. Or writing For Love
poem is wishing
when I stop waiting. One thousand times
I’ve read & wrote For Love
wear my sneakers, drink
be 28 in spite of me
in mirrors, Christ!
I look fucking old
What does the evening
mean? I could fall for lamp-light,
“the oval shaped frame of which
he was particularly fond…
For Love I would dream
when my schemes fall through, Man,
could that little girl dance!For Love I will read
it 10,000 times for my tomboy cousin Jean Marie,
for radio song, For Love
I would not pity me, my 28, sneakers, bourbon
future of my communications, and the lamp-
light, Her, she holds me here, so
in her evening beauty.
Complement with other beloved poets performing their work: Mark Strand reads “The End”; Langston Hughes reads “We Are the American Heartbreak”; Adrienne Rich reads from Twenty-One Love Songs; Elizabeth Alexander reads “Praise Song for the Day”; Sylvia Plath reads “Spinster.” Then, drink in more of Myles’s varied genius in her fantastic Design Matters interview:
Published November 30, 2016