Wednesday, October 20, 2010
All Of Your Messages Have Been Erased
Louisiana Literature Press
"but you will still inhale my history"
In trying to live with the full, "squall", tipping the poetic boat ,
to the point of sickness, Shipley's poems rock reality, like a sibling
who always excels at everything, and finds no comfort trying
to speak with a father who is always composing in his head:
"Who cherishes the crooked, the stained, the crossed eyed?
Here for forty-seven years, silence has embalmed me,
I will die soon. I was twenty-eight in 1935 when with chain
linked logic my mother and Giorgio, my brother, quarantined
me for life in this asylum outside of Paris. For them, everything
was either flat or upright. I was not insane, but they wanted
to cage their history, razor my face out of family photos.
At first, I used to hurl a pewter vase into my window to hear
something break. Some days I never unclenched my teeth.
but helium filled, my anger defated. Now, I keep my pain
walled, knowing it's all there is left to feel. My body sloughed
off home. Yet, Because memory is a tapeworm threading
through my veins, in spring, I can not sit on a lawn chair near
purple lilac. I am seventy-five. I can't tourniquet my nerves
but I have been able to dam expectations, even in my heart."…
We are forced to hold our breath while the poems hold us under
water. Opening our eyes trying not to resist before our last
breath escapes and we drown or push ourselves to the surface.
Coming from a place we are not at home with. The individual
experiences in this book, each poem expose us to the inner
longings of others:
"…fingering the peel like Braille or a palm reader unable to predict
her own future. I had stored my poems on a disk, turning from
words that flattened injustice, unwilling to file genital mutilation
under G, rape under R. I was a woman of action, pictured Eve
barging up the river…"
and the others become part of the history, so long dismissed, so
many clouds hiding a sliver moon, even the full moon,
that feminine presence which silhouettes so many woody waves
that some people find themselves walking on water or trying
to traverse the night, without a map. so many stars can be seen
when Shipley puts us in touch, lifts our heads out of the water,
takes the apple out of our mouth and reads to us.
Ibbetson Street Press
Wilderness House Literary Review