1. “If you can’t see it then you’ll just never know,” the subject said, “I wish I could talk in Technicolor”
In the seconds before Matt Mauch’s If You’re Lucky Is a Theory of Mine, the book recounts experiments done with LSD in Los Angeles, California during the 1950s. The above is said by a housewife, who recently swallowed a glass of water, to a doctor that couldn’t see the wavelets of colored sand the air was drawing into her cheek, the immediate refraction of everything at double pulse.
The two-parted-ness of the housewife’s (a tupperware-d figure often “lacking power”) comment to the doctor (a figure which harnesses a kind of intelligence / power to see “unseeable” systems at work within our bodies) is as tender as it is dismissive. Equal parts frustrated and othering and already imagining a reality beyond reality into reality.
You’ll never get it, the woman says to the exploding planet and the doctor standing just in front of it, BUT if I could talk differently, better, with a lot of energy that made you forget what love even is, maybe you would. She wants to be a piece of transmission more than she wants to be withholding.
2. “Is looking traditional? I want a new technology of perceiving.” -Bhanu Kapil
This is happening and collapsing and it is everyday. There is new teal, which is sometimes just the old teal with different teeth weeping out of a curvature of bone. I love all the filters and various containers we are pushing and plowing expression into. When I think of all the language, all the Internet, all the books, I see we have many throats to shoot through and grow new throats with. I love that, sometimes, I just look at a strawberry and almost go into a coma from amazement.*
*THEY ARE FRUIT COVERED IN A THOUSAND TINY SHIELDS.
3 & 4. In larger size letters on a different precursing page, Billy Bragg says, from the tinny roof of a song called “Busy Girl Buys Beauty,” some language that brushes against the opposite side of the room.
“What will you do when you wake up one morning
to find that god’s made you plain?”*
What if we don’t ever get to be that housewife, seeing what others can barely dream of seeing? What if we are a housewife in CPA’s clothing**?
We take drugs to rail against this, drink to rail against this, almost touch the lumps in the paintings at the museum, stick our heads in vents, stick our arms out the cow window, write these poems, fuck these poets, fuck these non-poets, drive through Utah, do blood rituals, etc.
*Google asks me, “DID YOU MEAN…What will you do when you wake up one morning to find that god’s made you Palin?”
**On the way home from the Greyhound station, a guy who introduces himself as an auditor at Wells Fargo, asks me out. A very small part of the many reasons I immediately say no has a sliver of something to do with this. I know, in a more messy way than a clean sentence can represent, I don’t believe I’m plain. It’s despicable in some way, this thought.
5. If You’re Lucky is a Theory of Mine delves into the tension and overlapping (the vibrating fearjoy ping ponging back and forth / froth) between these two things. Are you normal or are you a seer / a sear?
“On the way down the mountain
you understand what the seer sage
is saying: that honey-smooth will always taste
good to the tongues in our ears,
and balancing expertly on the miniature avalanches
beneath each of your downward-angled steps
will go unheralded unless
you herald it, which isn’t in your make-up”
-There is the hiding. Here is the seeking.
6. The book is hesitant to distinguish whether you or I (Is a poet the housewife or the doctor?) are more likely to fall into one category or the other. It often wryly suggests we are about one step away from either or. Or rather, it points out at the complex phenomenon that witnessing can be and is. On one hand, you experience the spectacular kind of texture that knowledge possesses when seeing something for the first time or when seeing something for what feels like the first time.
to Sun, “Saw a sparrow trying to crack
open the husk of a cicada on a driveway.
Never thought to use a driveway as a tool
-It’s one thing to want one’s life to be fulfilling,
another to want it to be very long.
Even a glacier can suddenly feel small in the face of how great smallness can be.
7. The central poem, “It’s a planet, we’ve an age,” the book oscillates around is embedded within a section called, NORMAL. The section and the poem mean to closely examine, over the course of thirteen pages, the dead body of how normal normal ever is. We know that NORMAL is relative, that our conceptions and opinions of what it is is always changing, that many people you know would be the last ones to call themselves NORMAL. I remember the first time I realized that everyone saw those little neon flecks of color on the inside of their eyelids whenever they stared at the sun.
“It’s a planet, we’ve an age,” begins with emphasizing distance, the human presence as galaxial pinprick.
“On the third planet from the sun
you smoke a cigarette, or a joint,
8 & 9. As the poem progresses, the you dissolves and reforms as an I. An I filled with specific choices and unchoices made via the ancestral blood whipping his own blood around. Each time I close my thinning lids, those bright sun flecks make new and different patterns.
What was distant and giving off those road waves you see on hot highways morphs into:
Horses, Juanitas, Arnie, who was identical to other Catholic school boys his age until a “horse’s shoe cut itself in miniature / in Arnie’s cheek,” Cancer, my dad’s dad, my mother’s father, Bob Marley, Budweiser, Jackie and I and eight, eight eight, the mailman with the abortion knowledge, “the photos we take of each other,” Apartment D, “the sweaters we wear / collect hairs,”“Like paper towels / we try to keep a little bit of everything we touch.”
The thing which continues to remind us of our distance, of a contained and clumsy universality we potentially share, is the continual mention of “the third planet from the sun.” The biggest zoo.
10. Is this where the idea of chance enters (because chance has to enter as soon as you read that title)? LOOKS AT ARNIE. LOOKS AT THE THIRD PLANET WHERE SOMEHOW A CELL GOT UP AND DID SOMETHING. Is this where the idea happenstance person and happenstance language having real effects on the present whatever enters? READ MORE >
August 6th, 2013 / 12:11 pm