Analysis of the Poem Elsewhere Held and Lingered by Conchitina R. Cruz
The main focus of the poem is on a woman yet her story cannot even be given the privilege of having it be told on the focal point of the page. Her narrative is simply relegated to the margins and, as stated before, readers usually tend to skim these parts or pay no attention to it. The implications of this paint a pretty damning image of how women are treated by society. I believe that the author was trying to say that women and their stories, plights, feelings, and such are often disregarded and set aside for matters that society sees as more important. This parallels how certain information is placed on the footnotes section because it would have disrupted the flow of ideas in the main text. It gives us the impression that women’s stories do not matter as much compared to their male counterparts. Women can try to speak up, but being noticed is another struggle altogether. In a way, it is like their voices are being silenced. If nobody is there to listen to them, how can they be heard? It’s quite amazing how this much insight can be gained from a short piece of literature.
This poem showcases the power of language and how it is not only limited to being a practical tool for communication. It is also a venue for expressing one’s feelings, thoughts, views, opinions, or in this case a way to shed some light on the marginalization of women.Interestingly enough there is a section in the fourth page of the poem that leads one to believe that not only is the wife having an affair but the husband is as well. The hint can be found in these lines of the text: “He believed in the democracy of leaving both women the same messages, sending the same flowers, delivering the same jokes, impressing the same songs upon their mouths, taking them on the same bed, the same sheets… And why would she, the lucky one, fully aware of such duplicability, or at least, bright enough to detect its implication, like the droning of the fridge in an empty kitchen, why should she feel otherwise, then?”
If both of them are guilty of being unfaithful, then how come the focus is only on the woman? Her raw, emotional, and duplicitous deeds are highlighted while the husband gets to go on about his affair privately. A man who has displayed insensitive behavior to his wife as demonstrated by these lines: “Similar to the lingerie her husband occasionally buys for her, a size bigger, without fail. I look at you and see the body it should become.” He also came across as condescending in the way he regards his wife in one of the lines quoted earlier: “And why would she, the lucky one, fully aware of such duplicability, or at least, bright enough to detect its implication….” Both of these things prove that he is just as at fault in this situation, but still, the speaker of the poem (persona) continues to focus on the woman. It seems like the only time women get noticed is when they make mistakes. Men just get a pass for bad behavior. The imagery in this poem paints a realistic view of the world we live in, flaws and all. We get a glimpse into the woman’s life; from the mundane dilemmas such as being too busy to get a haircut up to the darker complexities like her extra-marital affair.
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