Two Poems by Tina Cane


To be the Mary J. Blige of poetry       to come back as Peter O’Toole        to have Peter Falk

expose his tender heart to you      as John Cassavetes would        make a monument to love

of a fragile wife      with a nervous tic     and strangers from a bar on the couch      to be a poet

of the sea      pounding down each syllable         ‘til it resembles almost nothing      but sound

between lovers       to be an unscripted scene of oneself       have a teardrop tattoo

inked beneath one eye        to practice right action and right speech       to summon a stiff drink

upon waking       at the foot of a dune        to be a grain of sand in that dune      to be seen

up close       at maximum magnification        as intricate and entirely plausible



O lightness of being       depicted as we are atop a snowy summit       you buckling my backpack

far above the world and its noisy entourage of grief      we like to believe in the rogue element of ardor

two decades of buttering the muffin        but toast is not everything         and we are not luddites

nor are we orthorexics         misplacing all our love in the interim          atop a snowy summit we are lightness

and being mountain air we are palpable        even in this photo on the back of The New Yorker           wind whips

my blond ponytail as I conjure a weather report     open palms cradling the wireless wafer

a hawk gliding just out of frame



Tina Cane was born in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC in 1969 and grew up in the city’s East and West Village. She attended the University of Vermont, the Sorbonne and completed her master’s degree in French Literature at the Université de Paris IV-Nanterre. She is the founder and director of Writers-in-the-Schools, RI. Over the past twenty years, she has taught French, English and Creative Writing in public and private schools throughout New York City and Rhode Island. Tina’s poems and translations have appeared in numerous journals including Hanging Loose, Spinning Jenny, The Literary Review, Barrow Street and Salt Hill Journal. Her work, The Fifth Thought, was published by Other Painters Press in 2008. In addition to working as a teaching poet in her program, Tina is an instructor with the writing community Frequency Providence. She lives just outside of the capital city with her husband and their three children.

Read the poems Tina Cane previously published in Two Serious Ladies.