Aspect of Error
This time not because the cardboard statues of Osama line the desert
not because that night-time ghost no longer comes to visit
and not because my sadness of Saddam Hussein came
the moment of his capture and again.
Not this time.
My youth and love have slipped away
in my dreams marked dead on a tree
x’s in black tape kept in place with hunting knives for all to see
He gave me black gloves with rhinestone clips
given as a token, a “Please wear…
I had to ask
in my sorry state of confidence and confusion,
“Do you want me?
Am I sexy?”
Honest came the answer
as always into my eyes
only this time, his weren’t all there
this time, he didn’t want to see the pain he knew it would cause
afraid I might crush him with the weight.
She’d called me mum
knowing the slap would sting beyond that of anger
that phrase marking her territory, like dogs piss
her body slinking, slithering, close enough
claiming her spot without a doubt,
as I would have
Once upon a time
I had a lover.
He would have dropped everything for me.
— Michelle PG Richardson (Frieda Babbley)
Poem Subject Analysis
A woman in her thirties becomes wary of her age. If she hasn't had children yet, she begins to realize that her child bearing years are running out, aspect of error is running high. If she has had children, she begins to realize that there is another part of life coming up that she is not prepared for emotionally.
Socially, we women are trained to be young, and then the training ends. Stemming from all of this is the question of sexual prowess, the ability or inability to attract men for sexual purposes. Bottom line, she wants to know if she's still got it or not.
The woman narrator in this poem thought she did still have it. She'd counted on having the ability to keep any lover she wanted, one in particular, forever; or at least longer than now. She realizes her aspect of error is higher than she could have ever imagined. It is not only one of the most difficult things she has had to go through, but it is even more devastating than anything in the political world that moved her to sadness or remorse. She has been on top, a leader, and now she has been captured, persecuted for her declining age. How she finds out is perhaps the biggest slap in the face, one that will sting for quite some time. The warning signs accumulate in slow motion in this dream like scene, until her imminent rejection is realized and understood by her, despite anything she could say.
"Aspect of Error" is written in free verse. While formed with stanzas, the stanzas hold no conservative form. The reason for the use of stanzas in this free verse poem is to separate moments of thought and action, as well as to provide the reader with the knowledge that there should be a longer pause held in its reading at the stanza end point.
As for punctuation, that which is used here is limited, and serves, for the most part, to separate either a moment within a moment, or as a pause in the narrators thought or telling of the story. Punctuation always works here as a sign to the reader that a longer pause is to be held between words, lines, or stanzas than would naturally come. Capitalization at the beginning of each stanza remains uniform both for visual uniformity as well as to mark the beginning of each with importance.