The Drowned Girl
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Rare in any age is work which incorporates a passion for experience, a commitment to truth, an ability to plumb the irrational, and a fluency in poetic language and music which can work through all these tangled thickets, but Eve Alexandra does just that? This is true poetry; it immediately takes its place as a participant in the vast historical voice which composes poetry, a voice which contains ten-thousand tones, but which takes nothing until itself which doesn't resonate, as do the poems of The Drowned Girl, with authenticity and fervor. C. K. Williams, Judge. One of the things I find compelling about Eve Alexandra's poems is that, while the narrator is seductive and beautiful, she is not pleasing. She does not offer comfort. She is not kind of solicitous. Like Ariel, who performs the tempest for Prospero, Alexandra, too, is a tempest-res: these are the storms and drownings of her own invention.
Like Ariel's bedeviling and gorgeous tunes composed to tease the sorrowful, these are poems of the taunt and tease, the razor in the apple. Lynn Emmanuel. Something bright and reflective, something lucid and exacting glints at the center of this fleshy, original debut. Is it a needle? Is it a scalpel? Is it a scythe? Is it the switchblade a woman might carry in her purse? Eve Alexandra wields a tender, sharp honesty. The lines cut and dice, arc and glimmer in the light of her lyricism and intelligence. These poems will open you, make you bleed, make you wonder.
still hard—the coke. So hard he never comes. Your forehead smacks into the smooth, white hollow. Play a game, like when you were little, count how long you can hold your breath. Remember your father teaching you to swim. You pray he will come, get off in your asshole. The water is running and running. Someone’s pounding. Your door. He slows down. They keep pounding. You thank God. He pulls out. Tell him to leave now. He tells you how beautiful you are. Think about the mess on
rug, a tongue that speaks back, the unfinished plate—veins raging to the surface of his neck. I don’t think of the lost smallness of my own angry body, of running away and away, my own arms already taut and expert at blocking, enough to carry my brother for miles. When I think of my father’s body, I think of my brother, nineteen and stupid, the cops with guns at their hips, the sentence for trafficking a kilo: three to five. I think of the names of states, of Maryland and Texas,
You could lose anything: a tooth, Barbie’s shoe, this prayer. She loves me. She loves me not. I stare at my reflection, a posy of wishes. Morning glory, nightshade, tulip, rhododendron. In this poem I would be the Wicked Witch and she Snow White. Waiting. My father talks to me about their lovemaking. My mouth empty as a lily. I try to remember the diagram. Which is the pistil? Which is the stamen? Roads of desire circle our house: Lost Nation, Severance, Poor Farm. Branches catch the
Anatomy Girl Unfinished bodies in the dark The Exchange Botanica Blue Heroine Note Acknowledgments Grateful acknowledgment to the journals in which these poems first appeared: “The Drowned Girl” and “Heroine,” The American Poetry Review; “Botanica,” “The Drowned Girl,” “Girl,” “Heroine,” and “Passage,” American Poet; “Anatomy” and “The Exchange,” The Pittsburgh Quarterly; “The Means of Production,” The Harvard Review; “When I Was Crazy,” Central Park. Thank you to my family for their
Nasturtiums. Eating it all. Grandma’s bridal gown and the Christmas tree just vitamins to her. Catalogue her. Call her anything you want. She can’t sit here forever, pretty as pages, your good book on the shelf. Passage Tiny jewels of sand and salt spill from her mouth. Her lips lie like cloistered nuns. But her ears—they open like lilies. And suddenly all around her there are songs being sung. New notes slick and green, currency on everyone else’s tongue. Her own was slow, cut from the wrong