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  • Essence
  • Robert Cording (bio)

I’m listening to Lucinda Williams long for her lover’s essence, her half sob, half sigh a reminder of how I, too, am always longing for something that is somewhere else, something that is part of me and yet something else entirely . . . .

And now I’m remembering my college crush on Teilhard de Chardin, who could not believe all our longings went to waste, and so collected them in a noosphere of consciousness that wrapped the earth, and was part of a universe always evolving towards higher levels of consciousness, aimed at an Omega Point that drew us not just onwards, but upwards toward itself, like Christ who drew all things into himself—a completeness Lucinda and I have always wanted, but can never enter completely.

It’s what Lucinda wants now, her lover’s essence a drug, a gift shot directly into her, a breath she can feel on her face, but when she takes up her song’s refrain one last time, I hear again longing’s hard counterpoint— Baby, sweet baby, I’m waiting here for more, waiting by your door, waiting on your back steps …waiting for your essence. [End Page 105]

And then, hunger unabated, she lets even the words go, her song becoming the lonely wail of the guitars and the essential one-two, one-two of the drums that give a heartbeat to our never-satisfied needs. [End Page 106]

Robert Cording

Robert Cording teaches English and Creative Writing at the College of the Holy Cross, where he is the Barrett Professor of Creative Writing. He has published six collections of poems, most recently Walking With Ruskin (CavanKerry, 2010). He has received two NEA fellowships in poetry, as well as several poetry grants from the Connecticut Commission for the Arts. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Nation, the Georgia Review, the Southern Review, Poetry, The Kenyon and New England Review, Orion, and The New Yorker.



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pp. 105-106
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