I recently came across this poem:
FRIDA TO MARTY MCCONNELL
Leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. Train your heart
like a dog. Change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. You lucky, lucky girl.
You have an apartment
just your size. A bathtub
full of tea. A heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. Don’t wish away
your cracked past, your crooked
toes; your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought
because the vendor was so
compelling you just
had to have them. You had
to have him. And you did.
And now you pull down
the bridge between your houses.
You make him call before
he visits. You take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. Make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. Place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
Don’t lose too much weight.
Stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. And you
are not stupid. You loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. Heart
like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas.
Heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.
— Marty McConnell
I had a vague sense of deja vu, as if I was reading the wrong peom, and then I remembered this:
FRIDA TO SHARANYA
Sleep wherever is most convenient for you.
Whoever and whatever is left in the morning,
take home. Be kind. All the world is yours for
the taking, long as you know that your little heart is
theirs for the breaking. Leave lipstick on their
china and on your letters. Make sure they know
that you’re a mariposa, blue as copper sulphate,
or blue as the sea, blue as a baby stilled too soon,
darling wench, and you never really intend to leave.
Set love free like a boat with neither oars nor anchors.
Trust it. Don’t trust yourself. Accept every familiar
that comes, even if one happens to be a goat. Forgive
less of people. Remember that things come in triptychs.
Be magnificent, like Coatlicue. You only owe it to me,
but break a mirror now and then, if you can afford it.
Kiss as much as you want to, and as few. Be difficult.
It will make you more desirable. If it will help you to
let him go, cut off your hands. They will grow back.
You don’t need them. You don’t need him. The older
you grow, the more you will amputate. Dance on stumps
if you have to, but don’t stop. Wear one item of red
every Wednesday and when death comes for you,
you will go as his bride. Burn every bridge you ever
built, and build as many as you possibly can. The one
that takes you home will be the last one standing.
Sing over the bones. Go slow.
Don’t forget me.
— Sharanya Manivannan
The lesson is clear. In times of heartbreak – of any kind – ask yourself: “What would Frida say?” and proceed accordingly.