This post was written by Valerie Loveland about her relationship with Sharon Olds's The Gold Cell.
Visiting my Friend from College
Gold Cell I still don’t know what your title or your cover means.
Gold Cell you are the first poetry book a friend loaned me and he regretted it.
Gold Cell, I am sorry I roughed you up!
Gold Cell, how is it possible that you weren’t published the day I was born?
Gold Cell, I could only start sentences with Gold and could only end them with Cell.
Gold Cell, why didn’t you tell me that men will pretend to like poetry to trick me into believing we could have a poetry life together?
Gold Cell I went with them to an arcade and read you instead of playing video games.
Gold Cell, I only wanted to talk about poetry my entire talking life.
Gold Cell, I used you as a poetry diplomat.
Gold Cell, you are thicker than I remember!
Gold Cell you are a time machine a nostalgia machine a regret machine a poetry machine an embarrassment machine.
Gold Cell, remember my uptight friend who accidentally chose the poem that sexualizes the states to read out loud in class?
Gold Cell you name drop my favorite style of dresses to allow me see you even more clearly.
Gold Cell, my friend recently told me she didn’t understand why people like you. I had to defend you and didn’t know how.
Gold Cell you hide from me on my bookcase with your red cover because I was looking for a gold book.
Gold Cell you were such a companion I started calling you Goldie.
Goldie you are back in my backpack and I am 19 again and we are both boy crazy.
Goldie, I wrote you are back in my backpack but I keep writing “where you belong” and then keep erasing “where you belong.”
An ongoing conversation between writers and the text that they're reading.