“A photo of whales on your phone will not protect you”

Posted by @ 10:55 am on June 13th, 2010

Sampson Starkweather’s latest chapbook, The Heart Is Green From So Much Waiting (Immaculate Disciples Press), is a chapbook of “transcontemporations,” which, Starkweather explains, are to poems what Robocop is to normal police officers. Obviously, if we’re playing along at home, this is both a joke and not a joke. Like maybe it’s a battle cry and a cat call, maybe it’s a desire to be unremoved from the original feeling of seeing through the eyes of Robocop himself. If we’re playing along at home, The Heart Is Green From So Much Waiting feels some kind of gameshow hosted by a monk.

In these poems, this monk says such things as “In seventh grade, I couldn’t find the heart / on a 3D anatomy model. I just stood there like a town / dotted with paralyzed tornadoes.” And “Just as I notarized a conglomeration of boy / and man, they marooned me with the memory of swimming.” The title says Waiting, but I keep seeing Wanting: of carnality, connection, a way to have one’s teeth and one’s teeth marks too. Or, as the book says: “How strange to be alive. Before I was dead, it was my favorite. Finally we’ve found the perfect way not to describe something. Life is like a box, with Tom Hanks inside it.” Starkweather is brazen with his mix, so lost keychains and unplanned birds and the dead floating on the ceilings of everything, “wearing earrings in their old age like Ed Bradley,” are all worthy twists in his project of understanding, which Starkweather knows is a project too mature to dismiss anything. Because if the heart doesn’t know how to dismiss anything, why should we apologize? Whatever we’re here for, we aren’t here to feel embarrassed. This is a sweet little book. It’s only $8, which is the infinity symbol doing a headstand. Check it out.