Bastille Day

At last…a draft that might be worth printing out.'Bastille Day'

Maybe this will be the day it will coalesce—
you, me, the empty bottle of chardonnay,
the driving urge to put this breach to rest.
(Another attempt to put the past away.)

I won't lie to you—or, at least, not today,
when you're so determined to be on your best
behavior, to mend a relationship so far astray.
Once more, this night, at your behest

I'll don the satins and silks of recreational
adoration. It's my duty to make things right.
Your body may be my confessional,
but in my heart, I'm still ready to fight.

In the chronicle of us there is much black, no white,
just middle ground and absolution. This processional
of tango and hauteur stops when the light
dims and the truth starts spilling out, full

of recrimination and resolution.
Though, admittedly, I haven't found a way
for forgiveness to move from concept to execution,
I have to believe that you would say

the same stands true for me. We say
much of forgiveness and restitution,
we two unstudied actors in this tiresome play
of psychological retribution.

The timeworn concept of absolution
is harder to stomach when you must stay
the course you've chosen. My contribution
to our catastrophic war will be a fey

admission of guilt through blind temptation.
Your contribution: to storm your roughshod way
into my mind—still reeling with confusion—
on this, the early hours of my Bastille Day.



Ok. Now that I've gotten questions about this, let me clarify. No, it's not autobiographical. (Remember my rule: "Never assume I'm being truthful. Never assume I'm not.") Let me give you a quick explanation.

Imagine a relationship in which the narrator has been cheated on in the past, and has forgiven—or so she thinks (her sex is cued in lines 9-10)—until she, herself cheats. She discovers that she likes it. She enjoys the excitement and secrecy of the affair, but at heart she's rebelling against a relationship that she wouldn't leave, given the choice. She knows that he's her vulnerable spot.

One of the oldest concepts in the literary world is of an author writing of how they were deceived (or cheated on) by another person. Why not shift the focus slightly? What if the narrator isn't reliable—what if it was the narrator that was in the wrong? What if she's not sorry about what she did (see line 5), but she confesses anyway, for reaction, for argument?

The beginnings: lines 11-12 (which have been in my notebook for a couple of weeks now) and the concept of Bastille Day—a storming of gates, an overthrow, a fight between sides.

A side note: an empty bottle of wine can often lead to truth-telling. Those truths are not always the ones we want to hear.

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