In the poems that are more typical “love poems,” I express with abandon myriad passions. The erotic or love poems are dangerous for me. They may not seem as daring as some poets have been able to express, but for me they are risking a great deal. If I cannot risk it in life, I will risk it on the page.
CLM: This poem is a personal excoriation because of my own (at-the-time) perceived spiritual failings. I was raised Roman Catholic and left the Church at thirteen, before my Confirmation. I am a believer in God, but all my life I have been told I am doing it wrong because I don’t attend Mass and follow the Catholic Church’s teachings. I do, however, enter Catholic church buildings often for prayer and mystical solitude.
This poem is nearly the exact truth of an event. It occurred at St Anne’s Catholic Church in the city I live in. The poem was written shortly after I left St. Anne’s building. I suppose the overwrought contrition I felt expanded to many things in my life that I perceived as wrongdoings. I will likely never be free of “feeling guilty,” because of my upbringing. But, I am on a path of reclamation of my own sense of wholeness and inner peace. The book itself is a declaration of that purpose.
Susan Tepper, an award-winning writer, has been at it for twenty years. Six books of her fiction and poetry have been published, with a seventh book, a novella, forthcoming in the fall of 2017. FIZZ her reading series at KGB Bar, NYC, is sporadically ongoing these past nine years. www.susantepper.com