by Diane Wald
1913 Press, 2011
84 pages / $11.00 buy from 1913 Press
1. My friend, N, told me about this book. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know who is living out there. It’s a crushing thing that hovers around me. I want more voices to hunt me. N and I trade pictures of wonder using smart phones. I felt very demanding when I put my request for this book into the Inter Library Loan’s mouth.
2. A t-shirt that said, “Wonderbender” is a t-shirt that I would wear everyday. It would be my fun coat. A wonderbender is what I nods towards everyday. This is a title that jumps out of a cake with Diane Wald’s gray cat in its arms.
3. “odd how you wait for me to speak/odd how i do it.” My friend, J, told me about a letter that has no sound to it. It is a guttural letter. It is pregnant breath. (The mom)ent before and possibility with its posse raging. Lip blubber flying everywhere. Wide load signs. In all shapes the I wonders to all shapes of wonder. Why do this? Why not do it in heaves? Why not bring in overwhelming hauls?
4. Wild gestures. Something beyond facial expressions is what that voice is making you feel uncomfortable at. “when my poetical delineator is out of order…amen.” Michael Taussig parades a thing I am in love with in The Magic of the State. “And because I feel that I am more known by this than knowing…” I think Wonderbender nods along.
5. “First, that is not the name of the bird. The name of the bird is Jen.” I want to name the cat Doug. The other cat will be Linda. Names don’t automatically build a person on a page or build a page a person. Names might just be an empty house flapping curtain teeth. A brush with a body, with a ghostly glow. I read a poem that threw a Jen in at the last minute. The I of the poem called Jen about hearing God farts. Most of the readers I read that poem with had questions about the kind of milkshakes Jen likes, why she was drinking them there, what she might slurp next. I thought about this for days after. Can’t Jen just be hitching a ride in back of the poem? Can’t she just shake there?
6. “It’s got more turquoise in it than that and even/ turquoise / is wrong by a long shot.” Our best avocado say you can be all the bad cover band you want.
7. “You scream. Literally you say hello politely, but I know you scream.” What a good bike ride through a horror movie this line is. Below us, the neighbors do not like us. They say we are loud, screaming with the help of our furniture. We slip a note under the door that says, “We’re sorry. We’re just talking. We’re just waking up. We’re just writing.”
8. “please do not hurt me oh i am absurd.”
9. When is this not a package deal? When is there not a nest at the bottom with cut out broncos in it and film negatives and a scrap of important color leaking? When am I not packaging? When are the women not walking along a slow part of the desert, looking for little bones? “i think i will send you a package.” Something big and spilling.
10. “or i have little information”
11. “his wife said he did not lose face / a phrase i find peculiar and revealing.” I was in Boneshaker Books with my friends, E and B. There were dioramas holding the community room up around us. A sign said, “Rama Rama,”and it was draped across. We come here to talk about dead things, being possessed, goo. Last Friday, we talked about how often speaking towards a face or speaking with a face is how we suggest “intelligibility.” Or maybe that’s the route to intelligibility we prefer? A (un)problem with speaking to the dead is speaking to a lack of face. The (un)problem with the dead speaking is the lack of face. A pregnancy of non-breath. Is that hysterical? A hysterical pregnancy. A blood shrug at the general discomfort with unintelligibility.
12. Wonder picks us out of the crowd. It sends its llamas for us. “In a way one is chosen by llamas–a particular way.” I wonder. Wonder picks us in that it shows. Then it shows more and more and accumulation is such a part of it. Yellow, graze, mud, long red house, someone hums to a picture of silence. A hum is in-between a silence and a speak. A swell around the air. The poem also says the word, “choosing” more than once. I think I like that wonder could be choosing. “I might say most times unclear, but the choosing so often a brilliant warm light.” Wonder can’t always be the opposite of unclear, but wonder is choosing to feel good movement in the see.
13. “They do not touch, for they do not / know each other well, but you can tell they will touch.” Do we know what is nearby? Sometimes I wonder. Like, for instance. This showed up at the end of this poem. (for Mulder and Scully) I didn’t even see it rolling down the road. I laughed loud towards the neighbors below us.
14. “I didn’t want to read after that / I didn’t want to write or eat or speak.” When this happens Diane Wald says we should crunch celestial cookies, gladly. We should bleed out twice. Whatever takes your whole body.
15. “sometimes they’re just playing dead, so that / is what i hoped.” It doesn’t have to be as far away. That’s why we dead play. Run dead plays. Spell cast out loud to reach other.
16. “this is a good day to start the right time / to begin to say / no more. he has moved away hasn’t he hasn’t he?”
“the room is quiet because everyone is surprised.” I try to convince my students that not knowing how to react is a bit of gold leaf. That it invites you to look again, to see with whatever mutated you can find. Lingering is happening. We are up late with trying. “gulls hesitate/then fall.”
17. “You can’t explain everything. You can’t even begin…and if you stop for a minute you are doomed.”
18. I can’t think when I get a glob of the husk I would be without poetry. I snorkel with it against my mouth and nose. “and golems you know only die / if the ‘e’ is erased from their foreheads / so the life-word forms death in their language” I would not feel the ability to die and come back, die and come back, to play for worlds letter by letter, pockmark by pockmark. I would not feel kind. I rarely do. “their golem brains gutter / and sputter / and die.” The word,“kind,” appears in this book at least three times.
19. “YOU CAN NEVER REMOVE ALL DANGER / it is within you always/ it always safely shine.”
20. “geographically, i am weak” Julia Kristeva says that the abject does not ask, “Who I am?” but Where am I? The I is moving one seat back. “Where am I?” is the new ajar. “For the space that engrosses the deject, the excluded, is never one, nor homogeneous, nor totalizable, but essentially divisible, foldable, and catastrophic,” says Kristeva. If this is Kristeva’s thesis defense, Roland Barthes says nothing at all. It is good news to feel the sparking tendons (the tendon sees, the tendon seize) of weak in a spaceplace.
21. “some joe brainerd confusions.” We are in a kind of car that I can’t drive and we are talking about Joe Brainerd’s I Remember. “I got called a faggot growing up,” M says. “But the way people, men, approach young him because he is “certainly, obviously something.” The creep towards in a secretive, knowing way, as though there’s some understanding between them already.” While M and I shake this around, I think of my students, who read an excerpt of Edouard Leve’s Autobiography, another I flood. A student raised his hand and said, “The more I read, the less I knew.”
22. “g said / i really like potatoes” or / “of course you like potatoes” / it was a joke between us.” I walked with M to the Washington Bridge. John Berryman was drunk and missed the water here. M had a potato wrapped up in her hand. M loves potatoes because they are kind and because they are blind, but covered in eyes. We leave potato things on M’s desk and on her facebook wall. I start recording on the bridge with M’s cell phone. She drops the potato and until the Mississippi stops moving like it has a potato in it, we record.
23. “i’m talking about the hairnet of pain some people endure”
24. “I bet if I bit into those shoes, blood would come out,” says someone in the TA office. It’s probably a poet. It’s probably Diane Wald. “Wonder is bent at various times/ quickly / and often invisibily / you don’t realize till later / it has hurt you.” A drunken noun attacked by its own verb. Then it makes sense to me. Wonder invites out all your juices. Without all the juices, it’s just religion, it’s just some kind of up there, and I am very pro grease and stench. Without all these sediments inside, without fear beans, none of the gods can fart. Wonder out invites your juices, your ashamed dripping, your bruise money. We are up to our canyons in funny shades of pale and dark.
25. All this time I have been thinking about how much I like poems that don’t bother for an end, a begin. They choose. DO NOT REMOVE BOOK STRAP. DO NOT PUT IN BOOK RETURN.