Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cate Marvin - Fragment of the Head of a Queen

Full of the energy of destruction and imagistic warpages through the absurd, Cate Marvin’s Fragment of the Head of a Queen has been everything I hoped it would be, having enjoyed World’s Tallest Disaster very much. It’s taken me a while to get through however, as I’ve lost it twice. But it’s back now, and I’m nearly to the end, so it looks like I’m going to make it, which seems to fit the mood of the book well.

Cate Marvin
Cloud Elegy

The world felt bad. Every leaf looked
like it needed a cigarette. Gutters took
cups strewn at their lips, turned them
upright to offer tiny pleas for change.
Windows enacted a communal decision
to condense, despite the consistent lack
of rain. All lungéd things grew asthmatic,
did not know whether it was the smog
or sheer anxiety rendering them unable
to breathe. Doves, those trusted symbols
of fidelity, engaged in the most tawdry
affairs, could not have told you where
their hearts lay, even if you could have
pointed them out, say, in that ditch over
there. And although the sex was great,
being both untoward and ill-conceived,
the world was relieved to get a prescription.
The clouds became patients and allowed
their numb griefs to occlude our skyline.
Streets suddenly looked so tame, so placid
outside the bleary windows. And with just
a pill, millions of pills, the world didn’t
mind how awfully anxious and American
things had gotten. So what if our lives
were rotten? We were ready, anesthetized,
to face another century, the clouds a little
less gossamer, a little less reminiscent
of the shapes we had wished to take.


At 12/10/2007 4:36 PM, Blogger Talia Reed said...

And she looks like Lisa Loeb

At 12/10/2007 6:43 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Yah! You're right (in this picture at least)!

At 12/11/2007 1:29 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Wow. I love this poem. Thanks for posting it.

At 12/11/2007 12:46 PM, Blogger Steven D. Schroeder said...

Yeah, I likes. Perhaps a touch too much of the over-brainy irony ("those trusted symbols / of fidelity," for example, I could do without), but I'm a complete sucker for the leaves with cigarettes and gutters begging spare change. Stuff I wish I had thought of. The echoes of Eliot suit me fine, and I think the ending breaks free of the irony nicely.


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