The epigraph to the Gordon Lish book I quoted the line about poetry from earlier today is this:
Of the world as it exists,
it is impossible
to be enough afraid.
– T. W. Adorno
I got out of bed this morning and looked at that and thought about posting the 4th poem this week from Heather Christle’s The Difficult Farm, and then thought, Gordon Lish, you wrote this book in 1983, and though it is still full of many truths, Heather Christle might have you bushwacked, brother. Because I do not feel a fear in Heather Christle’s poems, and by that I do not mean she is fearless with ideas, though she surely is. I mean these poems feel beyond the realm of fear, in that they have accepted fear, and ate it, and though the fear is warm inside them, they are concerned more with discussing, as in the below ‘Coco Rico,’ whether the person sitting next to you on the Ferris Wheel is an impostor or not, and how warm they might be. Also somehow the hairstyling in the face of this great unspoken black wind among black hens: it is less a blank, and more a waking that has already happened: that inversion I was talking about. More meat than there is air. Beautiful stinging pink meat. Heather Christle is our future soda water (and the sound of a French rooster). Thank you.
There is no epigraph to Heather’s book because it has not arrived to the time in which the rest of the book has arrived. So eat it. And take that, Lish.
Any time you buy anything,
you should buy an extra, in case
you really like it. I am aware
this makes me sound dumb, like
I am a really dumb shopper.
But buried in my shoulder
is a light that swells constantly
from dim to full-on glow and back
and it provides me with endless
knowledge, like a nutritional syrup
for the astronauts whose mania
for leisure’s renowned. Maybe
one day we will be the two
lonely souls forced to sit together
on the Ferris wheel. We will need
a signal. What if when we reach
the top you start humming something
from “The Planets”—then I will know
it’s really you and not some radio DJ
trying to give me another prize.
There are a few things I still
have to tell you, like how women
harvest flowers under unfair
conditions and there are members
of my family with less than
perfect hair. Most importantly,
I must convince you that while
it’s true I have the face of a human,
this does not make me a centaur,
manticore, or great Icelandic king.
I’m sure you’re full of questions,
such as Have you heard we are
surrounded by daffodils of normal
proportions? And all I can tell you
is that yes, we are surrounded,
by daffodils, perhaps, but even
more so we are swimming in an air
that’s been touched here and there
with the kind of dust that, once
lit up, won’t let the swimmers go.