Thursday, September 15, 2011

Danielle Lafrance, species branding

lady doll stuck in a glass jar
wide enough to hide a smile
disrobe the hand knit fabric
il faut savoir

loose, parka dot blouse
add the fury of internment
capillary vein; see coarse and network
smooth fine wrinkles

small chamber, low joy
gotta get gone to get some
bang bang, non plus
bang bang, il faut refuser ("Untitled Lady #389")
From North Vancouver's Capilano University Editions (CUE) comes Vancouver writer Danielle Lafrance's species branding (2010), a first trade poetry collection written in three sections, including a conversation between “Untitled Lady,” “Untitled Woman” and “Untitled Attila” poems, a section titled “Notes on the Content,” “Notes on the Errata” and “Notes on the Appendix.” What are the conversations happening between the species? This is a book about violence against women, about sex workers, about ordinary women and angry men, and some of the tragedies of those with the marginalized and lowest-income.
I want to be married
but I don't want to die

I want to love you
so I can forget you

what eclipses are these
I'm sunk, I've sunk
without finding

you like my mouth
because it is open (“Untitled Lady #87”)
The poems open up as a series of threads, of dialogues between the poems that, as the sections continue, turn back in on themselves, questioning all that has come before. In “Notes on the Content,” she writes: “the Lady knew more than the Attila // about the unconscious Woman // the tragedy of Ladies, Attilas and Women. // ---- // where Lady is police to Attila's citizen // nor Woman is prostitute to Narrator's trial // did nothing wrong but bow their heads[.]” Given that Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is said to be the poorest zipcode in Canada, the same neighbourhood that, for years, has also hosted the Kootenay School of Writing headquarters/space, there has been a wealth of literary writing exploring and critiquing the social conditions of the people there [see my review of a couple of them here], from the “Woodsquat” issue of West Coast Line that came from the infamous squat, and Sachiko Murakami's poetry collection of Vancouver's murdered and missing women, The Invisibility Exhibit (Vancouver BC: Talonbooks, 2008), among so many others. With every book that comes out about such dark subjects, when will enough have appeared for the violence to finally stop?
suspects the subject is subjected to being a suspect.
subjects are objects without agency. abjects are subjects
with agency. subjects. abjects. where do we put the objects?
put them under the beds of the subjects. subjects are
abjects with funny faces. abjects are subjects without funny
faces. subjects subject themselves. abjects are subjects built
out of pus. subjects are abjects without

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