Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sandra Simonds - Warsaw Bikini

One of the things I really like about Sandra Simonds’s Warsaw Bikini is how she really throws everything at each sentence. The amp is cranked up to 11. And what good is an amp that has an 11 if you don’t crank it up to 11 at some point? It’s not subtle stuff (well, depending on how one defines “subtle” I suppose, as right now I’m imagining I could make an argument that there is a subtlety to her work), and, really, I think the call to subtlety that we often hear in literature classes is over-pushed anyway. Right? Isn’t there something wonderfully unsubtle about The Waste Land (among the subtleties)?


under a black bed linen he nicknamed “morgue breath,”
wore a necklace of Xanax, asked to borrow

my favorite lipstick and $200
for a rendezvous with his papa whom he fed pear soup

through a feeding tube I called “Old Saint Nick.”
Whatever plan he had for botanizing the black gums,

the titi and the small-fluted papaw dissolved late one
night in his reminiscence of younger women

and when I pleaded, “Leader of the Slavic Languages
Department, won’t you at least of to Albertsons with me?”

he replied, “The footpath from the north unit’s picnic area
leads to Lemon Hole, one of the park’s favorite snorkeling spots.”

Men named Marvin sent him packages of exotic fruits with pre-
stamped return envelopes wherein he emptied the contents

on a trampoline specifically reserved for his papa’s
exercise regime. I read books he wrote on the mysterious

bacteria affecting the taste of Apalachola oysters
while he took naps in the refrigerator. When did I realize

I was closer to his dog, Pedro, than I would ever be to him?
One July evening—sky the color of a peacock feather—

he passed out on a Lake Ella park bench so I took Pedro, the out-
going tide of the Waccassa Bay. Never before had I been

so within this in-ness, so close to the ribbon hiss,
hot wind, pulsing through the arterial, arrow point of abandon.


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