Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Drive-ins, Gas Stations, The Bright Motels. Wendy Drexler

Drive-ins, Gas Stations, The Bright Motels. Wendy Drexler. (Pudding House Press 81 Shadymere Lane Columbus, Ohio 43213)

Belmont, Mass. poet Wendy Drexler has a new poetry collection out with the prolific small press “Pudding House” of Columbus, Ohio. Many of these poems deal with Drexler’s childhood, and the poet has a knack for getting into the head of the child she was through an authentic voice. In the poem “At The Drive-In-I Ask My Father About Sex” the young Drexler has an awakening sexual curiosity, and her queries are answered bluntly but right –on- the- money by her Dad. His answers literally make her flee to the ladies room:

“… At intermission I ask him, you know,
where babies come from. He tells me

there’s another hole that’s not
for peeing where the penis goes in

and where the baby comes out.
I want to see. I run to the ladies room,

lock myself into a stall, brace my knees
against the back of the door.

The floodlights go out and the speakers
crackle tin again. I creep past

the couples in their parked cars.
My gum loses its jolt on my tongue.

My father is generous
with his ladle of small talk.”

The poem “Western Motel” was written in tribute to the painter Edward Hopper. Drexler, like Hopper works with light with striking effects. Here she describes a signature Hopperesque woman, tightly wound and introspective (in Hooper’s painting) residing in a nondescript hotel room looking vacantly out her window to the landscape. Here the poet wishes the painter might have painted her with a different sensibility.

“Let her hair tangle and go wild.
If sunset paint her, let moonlight spill.
Everything is right beyond her vision—

rough leaves, the pink chastity
of blossoms, the buds.


Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update