There are these things that areimportant to me and they speak ofhow all is not right with the worldyet still all is right.
At the hardcore show the singerwas screaming fuck-you-aloha-I-love-you-fuck-you-aloha-I-love-you. (“things”)
I've been enjoying the echoes and repetitions of Juliana Spahr's Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2001), something very evident in her subsequent collections, including This Connection of Everyone With Lungs (University of California Press, 2005).
Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You is constructed out of seven long poems, seven poem-thoughts, poem-breaths, writing (as Lyn Hejinian describes on the cover copy) “a daringly aggressive ambivalence, one that is obvious in the goodbye-hello message of the book's title but becomes far more complicated as the poems' sequences query feature after feature of the author's cultural locale.”
While the parking lot is unused,
while the stream is rich and full,
the parking lot represents thegeneral feeling of the space.
There is the parking lot oflimited space
the parking lot of owned bycertain of we
the parking lot of no possibility ofuse
the parking lot of being unable topark
the parking lot of growing fromthe stream of gathering's freshnessof water
the parking lot beneath thehighway beside the stream ofgathering.
The third section, for example, “gathering: palolo stream,” collects, corrals and opens the contradictions of ownership, and the collision of public vs. private. The poem, referencing a small story of a stream, holds the tension of the collection as a whole, citing the tensions between native and non-native cultures in her then-Hawai'i. I am taken by the breath of her poems, the straight sentences repeated, broken apart, reworded, placed in straight lines that aren't so straight, and seem less so upon closer inspection.
In culture we have muscles andwe use these muscles to let usmove towards and on top and outof each other.
We build ourselves into aconfiguration.
We tremble as we do this.
Even after we have built, wetremble. (“a younger man, / an older man, / and a woman”)
The more I read through Spahr's work [see her 12 or 20 questions interview here], the more interested I am in reading further, and deeper, through, and her collections include Nuclear (Leave Books, 1994), Response (Sun & Moon Press, 1996), Spiderwasp or Literary Criticism (Explosive Books, 1998), Things of Each Possible Relation Hashing Against One Another (Palm Press, 2003), This Connection of Everyone With Lungs (University of California Press, 2005) [see my review of such here], The Transformation (Atelos Press, 2007) and a new title I haven't yet seen, Well Then There Now (Black Sparrow Press, 2011), with her first two available online as free pdf downloads.