Saturday, May 30, 2009

Finally finished my week of call, which was punctuated by my own visit to the ER. I burned my hand on a hot skillet handle cooking dinner Wednesday night, blistering parts of my palm and four fingers. Yow! And then I learned that Silvadene (a commonly prescribed burn cream) has a common side effect of causing "burning of the skin." Double yow. Things are healing nicely now, with plain old over the counter aloe vera thank you very much.


Two recent books that I have enjoyed reading are Angie Estes', Tryst, and Sherman Alexie's Face. (Hmmm . . . interesting, both are one-word titles . . . note to self).

Tryst is a delightful discovery. I picked it up blind off the shelf at Open Books in Seattle, and read one poem, and was hooked. I love Estes' inventive use of language, her humor, her erudition, and her always fascinating historical references. These are some really well made and entertaining poems, that stand up well to repeated readings. Here is a sample:


Mistaken, taken for
granted: her hips rose, rose
hips. The top note, that initial overpowering
scent can be mistaken
before it fades into the heart
note, which is the final,
true scent that lingers when the purple
finches have flown away. Granted: a song is a verbal
fence, and so Delilah sings Mon coeur
s'ouvre à to voix
, My heart opens
at your voice
, but then must cut
Samson's hair because he prefers
God to her, Miss Taken
for Granted. In Fra Angelico's painting, even the flames
of cypress flare up
along the road where the gold-haloed
heads of the martyred Saints Cosme and Damien
roll like rocks with notes
bound over their eyes. It is a splash
of black in a sunny landscape
van Gogh said of the cypress,
but it is one of the most interesting
black notes, and the most difficult
to hit off that I can
. Mistaken for granite—the skyline
of San Gimignano fallen
on its side, lines grazing out
and back like the lines of
this poem, like cows coming
home, where Italo Svevo swore
to his new wife, Livia: I will love you
forever, as far as the fin de siècle
will allow
. He meant to be
diagonal like agony, to outlast
the flat leaves of the hollyhock, which hasten
to lace. Mistaken: the closed burgundy
whorls of the hibiscus fallen
on the path, soft and damp
as the bodies of birds. "Chicken in half-
mourning," poulet demi-deuil, has so many black
truffle slices slid under
its skin that it appears to be
wearing black, just as the pearl-grey
waves of moiré in the Venetian lagoon
could be the waves
of the brain: Touch your hair
if you re going to the Ridotto. Nod
or shake your head
to tell me whether you plan to
go to the piazza
, Venetian
lovers once wrote in secret
notes that from the air
could be mistaken
for ruins along the canal where
they met: runes arching their backs
against the sea. Your plane taxis
out to the runway; in a moment it will
lift as you have so many times
beneath me.

Published in the Field Poetry Series, volume 24. Check it out! Highly recommended.


Alexie's new book Face has an interesting mix of traditional forms (sonnets, syllabics, villanelles) and more experimental forms. I prefer the latter. He has verse poems that break off into prose paragraphs, return to verse, followed by footnotes and/or multiple choice questions. It's really quite a hoot! I care a little less for all the father-son, piss fight stuff. But the Mount Rushmore poem, "Vilify," itself a villanelle followed by pages of hilarious footnotes, is worth the price of the book. Recommended.

An interview with Alexie here.


1 comment:

AloeVera Produkte und Onlineshop said...

Aloe Vera is also called the healer plant, so its nice to read such a story again.
Before the worldwar II, the most people use such a plant in the kitchen to heal burning scars from the hot oven. But over the years and the influence of the pharmaceutical industries, most peolpe lost that knowledge about herbals and natural healings.
So we need some more stories like your one to come back to the roots
Thanks and have a nice day
Greetings from Germany