Rise in the Fall
by Ana Božičević
Images by Bianca Stone
Birds, LLC, March 2013
80 pages / $18 Buy from Birds, LLC
Mary (Feng Sun Chen) and I are sitting in a bar on Friday afternoon. We are simple about asking. We are asking: What the fuck is a sad poem? What the fuck is a joyful poem? Bettye LaVette is pushing into the air a version of “I’m Not the One” that I like better than the original by The Black Keys. Soot everywhere. “You think that I’m normal. / All these years / I’m just trying to warn you.”
I go home and look the song up and find out Lavette is quoted. “I don’t know what’s he’s [Dan Auerbach’s] saying, but I’m saying don’t fuck with me.”
Sometimes a book of poems finds you, and you type out an email to your friend describing it as, “Now I have found the Winter of my Disco Tent.” Ana Bozicevic’s book, RISE IN THE FALL, pulls at how a woman might be when she has difficult and exhausting and hard things to write about. It pulls out at how she is a speaking, loving thing who must demand from us and and rub against us, despite the fact that she knows we still might miss it, that we might not hear her. (We’re not great listeners.) Also, the book knows that can still be fun. Also, the book knows that she can die and come back and die and come back shooting out breath she made powerful herself.
death. Even in that silence
there’s bird calls or meteors or something hurtling
through space: there’s matter and light. I’ve seen it
through the theater of the trees and it was beautiful
It cut my eyes and I didn’t even care.
-Death, Is All
March 25th, 2013 / 12:00 pm
Dreams for Kurosawa
by Raúl Zurita / translated by Anna Deeny
arrow as aarow , 2012
$10 Buy from arrow as aarow
I would like you to see how I’ve scratched and bent and battered this beautiful book. I have been holding this bark relatively near to my person for almost every day of the past few months. (I don’t go to the wheezy bar or to the co-op or to any grass just outside without some kind of bike bag growing out of my back. It rains on the way. There was an angry spill in August.) Do you think it’s still in a magical shape this way? I do. I thought I might want to write something about Raul Zurita when I got Dreams for Kurosawa in the mail, and I kept waiting for the bones of the poetry to dry out. They still haven’t. They drip on me. “Once again I see the worlds,” says a line in poem simply called #2 that I repeat to myself like tattoo berries.
Being near poetry means clanging mis-remembering and remembering together into brackish jewels. Both make the cardboard around us shine. In the case of Zurita, we have some kind of glimpse of where the lines between a real event and the logical leaps writing causes the brain to take exist. If you are familiar at all with the shapes that pus in and out of Zurita, you know he is a Chilean poet who writes primarily about surviving Augusto Pinochet’s atrocity-ridden coup d’etat in 1973. You know that his life is a circle of hinges burning around the real sadness it was pulped into. “I was seized by the Arauco brigade and before/dying I remembered the worlds” (#2). During the coup, Zurita was detained in the hold of a ship with a thousand others deemed enemies of the new military government. (He was carrying poems at the time, which were thrown into the water by a soldier. Those poems are his book, A Song for His Disappeared Love.) Over 30,000 people are estimated to have been tortured and a little over 3,000 killed during Pinochet’s time at the helm.
November 2nd, 2012 / 12:00 pm
I love a book about you and I. I’m not always convinced there’s anything else. One of my favorite pigeons of love, Raul Zurita, speaks in his book, Song for His Disappeared Love, of how impossibly big you and I can mean to each other, and yet, he emphasizes over and over how you and I always seem like they are on the heart twisting brink of falling apart in their own mouths. “Now the entire universe is you and I minus you and I / After the blows ended, we moved a bit and destroyed I was / only one you felt come closer” (6). What a cloth house we all are when we try to together/two gather. I’m never sure if we’re standing up or collapsing with love. I think it is going to have to be both ways if we’re actually going to climb much of anywhere. At any given point in Thomas Patrick Levy’s book, I Don’t Mind If You’re Feeling Alone, you and I are at different distances from each other, at different points of collapsing or standing with huge love. They reek of the empowered fragility that Zurita tries to illuminate for us. Levy puts you and I in cornfield after cornfield. He puts you and I next to corn-infused products and corn-infused foods and watches you and I squirm full of kernels (Why, oh why, aren’t there more glorious poems involving the most American of foods, corn?). His you and I struggle often in the house and in the bedroom of the house before they get dropped down the front of Scarlet Johansson’s dress. His you and I wake up on an island for the third time and they smell like the different kinds of cars they ride in. You and I make strange, domestic circles around each other, they sometimes touch. They sometimes speak despite all the leafy prose swaying between them.
May 18th, 2012 / 12:00 pm