Tuesday, November 10, 2009
dialect of a skirt
erica miriam fabri
Hanging Loose Press
Brooklyn, New York
immediately, the cover of this first book, by erica fabri, made me jealous. the energy portrayed, the vibrant color, the direct approach, the ice-cream sundae image, all lent to my initial shock, “how dare she smack us with her boldness, her youth.”
ahh jealousy is a roaring beast. I read of few of the poems and now I’m really pissed, “she even writes with knowledge of her subjects, writes in the vernacular of her day. after I calm down, smile, rejoice in her time, in her expressions, the book is exciting:
“it was an early round.
The judge presented it to her: Fish
The pride knife stabbed at her:
SPELL IT, NORMA”
fabri gropes our language, she creates spells from idols, icons, from her own definitions of what it means to be forever young. she creates spells I am bound up in, unrolled, left ‘breathless‘:
“She knew she knew this one.
as she dug her two beautiful
into her beautiful
to say: eff-
of nearly black blood
ran down her clefted chin.”
the goddess slips off her pedestal. I grab a chair to steady myself. can this be an indication of how we measure ourselves, the spelling of ‘fish’. even before her breasts are visible, this speller is ashamed of her not being able to measure-up. oh wonderous poet, how you have given us our icon-made real.
“Just then: Agatha.
Agatha, breastless, wanted to win,
Agatha said: Blood isn’t allowed
in a Spelling Bee.
Sit down, Norma Jean”
the challenge: we can compete: we can win: especially, if we take charge, charge in, take over, embarrass, make that blood count, blood power gives birth but some of us don’t want it, so we run until we stop bleeding:
the bridge of her glasses
into her forehead,
hard, like bone.”
ahh, I’m exhausted by this one poem and release myself from the others until my energy returns…. “the animal of Love” is another goodie. we garnish the results of being peg holed spellers, or spelling an inaccurate verb, but we also recognize May Saton’s poem, ‘wild geese,’ “let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Sarton seems more subtle in her recognitions of how we please each other. fabri uses the symbols handed down unrecognizably, for what is represented is not the truth. the truth is, no one needs to live without this book of poems?
“I will swim belly to belly
with you forever, and if you die first,
I will beach myself, because it would be
too lonely to live without your silver flesh”
the titles of the poems are an indicator of the content of the poem. these titles are wonderful. I leave you a sampling:
‘Sappho on the lower east side’
‘Mannequins at lunch’
‘The poet and the truck driver’
‘Love in an ice cream truck’