Not Even Then: Poems (New California Poetry)
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With its kinked and suspensive language, Not Even Then draws on the lyric tradition, even as it complicates that tradition’s dualism of self and other. Likeness is always under investigation in the book’s irreducible arrangements of alterity. From "Red Habits": "I imagine the interferences explained / in don’t-think-twice and reverse advice / and by habits for both head and breast / hers and hers as red as mine at chamber check. / We are each herself a further interference." No answer rests unquestioned in its turn; even the book title’s cynicism is challenged by a poetics alive to possibility, where Possibility is—impetuously, ecstatically—companionable. "The listener you are," writes Blanchfield, "the less alone."
Something exposed in us wishes it were rock, though the point of it is chandelier. 78 SOME NOTES “One First Try and Then Another” is informed by the video work of Martin Schwember, which was used in the Ballett Frankfurt’s production Kammer/ Kammer, a work its director, William Forsythe, describes as “oriented around the idea of voice, instrumental and literary, that dilates between an immediate, raw desire to articulate and the European tradition of virtuoso.” “Thirteen Point Three Three”:
trembling hangs on so twisted a stem; even so, the six train runs beneath us and stacks the two bills in your foot locker, leveling an all along crisp dispute. 10 FERDINAND, THE PRIZE It then emerges that the interpellation of individuals as subjects presupposes the existence of a Unique and central Other Subject, in whose Name individuals [are interpellated] as subjects . . . “And the Lord cried to Moses, ‘Moses!’ ” Louis Althusser bull whose sperm goes for two hundred dollars an ounce,
feel. Anew, his tears. And in those full, occluded moons I struggled personally to ﬁnd the sky under which I was a white man waving, which meant leaving him, unconvinced of the end, even of the poem I’d not slept to write against the hostel desk. It scared me to teach it. I was as old as he was when Rock left to die—far off, at home. With gardens in his name. 16 TWO MOONS The moon will all but disappear, which is to say the world is in the way again. It will take two hours to return to full,
reconciled. I send away for nothing. I let prepare the least and blackest bed occasion, its foot its head and windowswidth its length, and lay along a want of stars a piracy’s bit of balance, at sixes and sevens with facing’s nature, the cross with danger purity, and in the time it takes a stretch of beach to dry and on a day when all the mail from Normal’d come, in death’s detail, both in its clutches and in its throes, I make in love my ribs ﬁt his. 21 THE NEXT LANDING Like the mention of a
remember. Hands wring differently for everyone why? The truck my dad left had parking blocks you used as ramps. The hill was no place to land. The sun made its crisscross on our legs beneath the house. I settled for a new name and a V-neck and whatever made better the mother but felt around foundation that if the houses blipped and the blocks blew off and the road bloomed a hinge 46 and folded over like a felt box closing around a band, the canyon given the hill would betray the condition of