Anyway, after the reading, a group of us, including Reb Livingston, Kaplan Harris, Moira Egan, and series host Sandra Beasley, trooped off to Zaytinya for mezzes which ultimately made Jen ill, but which seemed quite yummy at the time, especially the "squash blossoms with pipe dream filling." (That was really on the menu).
Afterwards, I took the sleepy poets to my house, where we talked about turtles, and they met my new pet fish, Nino and Clarence, although Nino was totally dead by the next morning. Fat little Nino, we hardly knew ye.
But Clarence is a survivor, baby. I'm thinking of getting him new digs now that he's a swinging bachelor fish. Shanna and Jen are survivors, too, and don't even live in a tank. They're continuing their Safety Orange Tour . . . check out the dates and see if they're coming to a place near you!
They always want to know the same things: love
and money. Or, "Yes,
the world will soon acknowledge . . ."
The poems evoke traveling, bridges, drawing, detective novels, gestation – all translations over distance, obstacles, vision, knowledge, or being. But speech, like any relation across spaces, is difficult, and oblique.
For a long time,
I didn't know what to say.
And of course I didn't want to say it.
Things remain uncertain despite the fact that language is our attempt to render everything clear. Time itself interferes . . . our memories, which are supposed to allow us uninterrupted access to a narrative, are themselves faulty.
All positions being apparent,
no one agrees about
what happened next.
But the poems themselves attain clarity through an accretion of nuanced emotions, connections misplaced and replaced in a field, constantly. And this give and take between what is said and what is heard, what is done and what is understood, becomes instead of forbidding blankness, an opportunity for reinventions, for multiple "ways of saying," and many types of progress toward communication.
The urge to travel, the longing for home,
it comes to us
. . . .
What is in us already.
Because we love the ground,
The uncrossed distance.
Interested? Good. You can find Learning the Language here, and don't forget to watch out for her upcoming full-length collection from Ahsahta!