Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Leanne Dunic, To love the coming end

On top of sweaty sheets, I exist without basic order. Order of eating. Of hydration. Of relieving myself of concentrated urine. Buddha says: Existence is suffering. Desire is suffering. To be awake with one’s anxieties is suffering. If I can sleep, then I can survive, but there’s something I desire, something that, in my rest-deprived state, seems attainable. Reunion. Perhaps through dreams? But then there would have to be sleep. Without worry, without unnamed guilt.

Reality is unreality. I have no references to validate my existence. Mornings at nights I pray to other gods, talk to you, think of new superstitions.

5 am, I wake. Hello?

The first published book by Vancouver multidisciplinary artist Leanne Dunic is the poetry title To love the coming end (Toronto ON: BookThug, 2017), a book-length suite of lyric meditations composed as a series of self-contained fragments. While this appears to be a sketchbook composed during foreign travel, this is less a book about travel than one that, through the experience of travel, allows for the removal of the distractions of home, forcing the narrator into an examination of self after “the loss of a loved one.” As she writes: “Even while in Japan, my missing doesn’t thin. Maples and pines root my muscle, call me back to land.” Dunic writes the self-doubt, recriminations, observations and pessimisms that are often associated with loss, writing:

Within me, a gaping crevice. The more I change my environment the more I lose track of myself, yet I traverse. Maybe that’s the point. Nothing is anchored. Today is unstable, easy for people and land to split. Minerals grind a geological dance, the balance of the earth’s axis shifts. Chile, Indonesia, New Zealand, Haiti, Japan. Where next? The unsure crust hectors the Pacific Northwest, evidence of instability buried under substrate. A story, mounds.

Dunic writes of impending natural disasters and impending destruction, questioning how one can continue on such a precipice: “Singapore grows, a city of glass, as if there is no threat of plates and quakes.” To love the coming end is a book about isolation, vulnerability and perspective. She writes on Mishima and travel, Singapore and her “next project,” attempting to find ground even as she deems herself perpetually unsettled. She writes:

I hate November. Especially in Singapore. I’ve given up on aging, on anniversaries. I’ve given up on freshness. Showers are pointless when you step out of the bathroom and into fortified humidity. Despite the heat, I leave the flat to gorge on noodles oiled with meat fat and yeasty goods from BreadTalk. I’m readying for tropical hibernation.

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