Friday, November 14, 2014

Lisa Lubasch, So I Began

Starts like a summit or a vowel. There inside it. She cannot go anywhere. Out. Is out of the question. Elsewhere. Out of the question. She cannot swear. Besides. It doesn’t help anymore. She cannot speak. Their answers. What they want. Is obvious. Is it not. It’s raining. It is summer. It is warm, like hands. Possible sketch of the future, of maturity?

And when it happens there is no explanation. It keeps going on like days in the. Foolishly waits. For someone’s words. Foolishly waits. For a time or a task. Another to begin. The first one. Is that what you are waiting for?

Resuscitated as a kind of unrest. Blade. Slowly. Blown slowly. Over it. It is not anyone. It isn’t you. Someone in the hardened room suspends a deaf recitation. You are alone, but someone inquires. Have you been through the [exit]?

New York poet Lisa Lubasch’s fifth poetry collection, the first I’ve seen of her work, is So I Began (New York NY: Solid Objects, 2014), a multi-layered lyric suite of beginnings, openings and fragmented, stuttered description. Lubasch’s collage-effect of phrases, fragments and rich lyric passages accumulate as a sequence of layered steps. The poems are lean, as Catherine Wagner suggests on the back cover blurb: lean and sometimes fierce; abstract enough to float, and strong enough to strike with the precision of a needle. As Lubasch writes to open the poem “The Situation/Evidence”: “Open hangs his head and begins to mumble. / I am not quite at that point, but in a moment I could be / mumbling too. / I notice three things about this place. / The first is that Open inhabits it. / The second thing I notice is that I—I— / The third thing develops as the light moves down the / tumbling place…. / The tumbling place is my name for—[.]” Hers are nervous and downright restless poems, endlessly moving and morphing their meditative ways through a long thread. How does one maintain and contain such restless anxiety in such a precise and measured package?

A sounding at the ear.      And a ringing at the doorstep.      Look,
she said, a sounding at my hair, and a laughing in the footsteps.
A terrible laughing.     Certainly is terrible, and certainly is
honorable.     Better to be honorable than eligible.     Or
perhaps not eligible at all.     The name fell twice.     It was (the
substance of the name she heard).     (The substance or the distance
from it.)     Redundant knocking.     A drift, a birch, through
daylight, lost.     Drifting, drifting, into stalwart down.     We
are measuring its aperture.     Deep rose, written into English.
Written into daylight.     One by one.

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