Monday, February 26, 2007

Mary Biddinger – Prairie Fever


Mary Biddinger – Prairie Fever

Here’s another book that I don’t have yet, but that I’m hoping to pick up at AWP, at this event:

Friday, March 2

BOOK SIGNING: Along with Steel Toe poet Jeannine Hall Gailey, Mary Biddinger will sign Prairie Fever at the Steel Toe Books booth at AWP in Atlanta, Georgia, 1PM to 2PM.

I found this poem the other day. I admire its energy and trajectory, as it keeps the forward thrust of imagination closely tied to the original impulse. In other words, it is able to mean and be. Anyway, I found it on the Internet, so I’m not sure of the formatting.


MILFOIL & AFTERTHOUGHT


There were four rooms. There were eight. You were in corners and under furniture, near my knees, reflections of your back in stainless steel. Suspenders, Florsheims and avocado linen. There was limestone halfway up, and I knew I’d crash into it if I could move fast. You thought it was a cold place. The light bulbs? It was all like helium to me at that point. I said someone should be taking pictures, the way we were sprawled on the hardwood or propped up on rattan sofas. One time in the airport we were both small and spun together in a leather chair chained to the ceiling. You touched my leg. Nobody was taking pictures, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, or that we weren’t in Frankenmuth five years later, at connecting tables but kept separate. A shed behind the school, or that storm sewer at the dunes, past the grasses, left of concession, the sand that felt like clay, like slip, how blond you had become, I hardly recognized. If you were here in this room you’d remind me of the guitar, the train platform, the silver Cutlass containing me and continuing on past it all. You said we’d go back. I was always a good runner. You said: the smoothest skin ever. We’d seen the skyline from two dozen taxis, our own legs on the bridge, from the grass, from the grass again, in the grass on my front lawn, lit by the cheap plastic solar lamps, from deep past the buoys of Lake Michigan and into the waterways connecting. We knew where we had come from, had that in common. In college I looked out the laundry room window and saw you between leaves, in a corduroy jacket. We’re here, you said. There were blue sheets I used instead of curtains. Later I’d be in a hundred rooms with tin ceilings and slim wine glasses, or rectangular tables and cinderblocks and papers. In the subway window I’d look nothing but tired. I would try everything from milk to cactus in hope of turning you to milk and cactus and dark rafters and back again, so when I closed my eyes it was heat and every other color we described. The nights kept us like ants under plastic. I kept you in places that were cool and uncovered. You touched my face like it was years ago and just starting. I was busy fending off letters and drinking green tea and lying in a cool bath. By noon, everything was back where it had been. We’re here and we’re living, you said.

3 Comments:

At 2/26/2007 7:52 AM, Blogger Penultimatina said...

Thanks so much for posting, John! M&A is a prose poem, so the formatting is right on. When I read the poem for people I always footnote Frankenmuth, since apparently this Christmas-themed Michigan town isn't a vacation hot spot for everyone.

 
At 2/26/2007 8:37 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Is it anything like the mouth of Frankenstein?

Which is, of course, how I imagine it.

 
At 2/26/2007 10:17 AM, Blogger Penultimatina said...

It is very, very much like the mouth of Frankenstein. And Dracula.

 

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