Christopher Cheney is one of the only people who has threatened to run me over with a red car
New from Blue Hour Press is an e-book of poems by Christopher Cheney (featuring photographs by Estelle Srivijittakar) called They Kissed Their Homes. They’re really something, these poems and photos, apart and together. The whole thing is like a violin you left on the stove and spilled coffee grounds over, which you feel bad about, since it’s not even your violin: you’re just keeping it safe for a guy who showed up at your door late one night smelling half-fried eggs and half-chicory, asking if you would be a brother and hide his fiddle. You don’t really want to, but he keeps shoving the case at you in nervous little here, here‘s, so finally you take it and leave it in your kitchen. He never comes back. But after a while you can’t seem to get the moon out of your refrigerator, and you start to feel like a dog’s around, hiding, watching you, doing that sleek coat shiver, trapped and can’t stop.
Cheney’s one of my favorite poets of disquiet. He’s like a sharpened eyelash. The real deal. Here’s the official blurb from Blue Hour Press about the book, plus some excerpts after the break.
Christopher Cheney’s They Kissed Their Homes is an album of everyday landscapes foregrounded with disquiet. Like warm Polaroids, the poems develop clause by clause; their subjects—the mundane, extraordinary, savage—colorize and sharpen; a nameless, faceless population pulls into focus. Together with the work of photographer Estelle Srivijittakar, Cheney’s declarative snapshots gain collaborative energy, grow even more lucid. The result is a catalogue of the countless small oddities of our American quotidian.
THEY SLAPPED THEIR FACES
They slapped their faces and sat on the edge of bathtubs and ran a comb down their forearms and felt happiness creep into their pockets and found their dogs wrapped up in blankets and the clouds were big and yellow and firm and in the road there is a man hitchhiking and there are so many lovers in the supermarkets and there are those who have bad sex and there is you who is probably getting ready for brunch and there are those who don’t know yet of the dead and they yank their hands from scolding water and wait.
THEY SELL CHRISTMAS TREES
By the condemned mall they sell Christmas trees and where they clean their hands in puddles of thawed snow and while they beat their gloves in customers’ headlights and when they run their hands through branches and how when they wash their dishes they break the handles off tea cups and how their daughters sleep naked with football jerseys and how the electricity goes off and comes back on and when they found a seeing eye dog by their trash cans and when they first decided to get married and how it was drizzling and how they lean trees against a plywood shed and how their friends lift road kill over a median and how the smell drags into the forest and stays on their clothes.