Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Christine Hume’s SHOT

Where is the first person voice in American poet Christine Hume’s SHOT (Denver CO: Counterpath Press, 2010) headed? The author of two previous trade poetry collections: Musca Domestica (Beacon Press, 2000), Alaskaphrenia (New Issues, 2004) as well as the chapbook and CD Lullaby: Speculations on the First Active Sense (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2007), this new collection writes nocturnal poems; a shot in the dark, as it were.

Costumed and impostured in her sheet, my actress cues hormonal ghosts with scheming cunts and sequin eyes. I won’t be delivered silences like that. Tucked in, her arms are girls made of overwrought iron playing combat in the wet spot. Claque-dent down cold, I try dissolving her in sobs oozing from some blank world. I try nursing her grudges. I ruin her exhibits of caprice, but this one looks real breathing the curtain. She’s pushing me down, unsatisfied. She breathes me to my own rank, where I’m waiting with weapons in my holes.
There are wonderful things Hume manages here, through the line-breaks of the “standard format” open lyric and the prose poem, far more “poem” than many I’ve seen claiming such, writing expected shapes and a far straighter line. These are poems that crackle, sparkle and sing, and stake their immutable claim over that sightseeing dark, and write themselves almost as a veritable claim on the dark, over sleep; she might not know of Rob Budde’s poetic explorations on sleep, but might she know of Anne Carson? As she begins the poem “UM, UM …”:
You may pound this night as much as you please

You will never pound into me what you think

You say the contrary, and the lashings madden

Night things you should pay for it

Pound at your belief until it’s empty of you

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