Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lily Brown, Rust or Go Missing

With Music
I work to my eye. Bird body
to my right.

Creaky-winged white pelican—change
my life, live fossil,
plaster mower with music.

A woman tells a pregnant woman
she dreams her stomach’s
ripped out.

what the kid listens to in there.

Mother, don’t worry about the missing
phone calls. You’re worth more than
vacillation, all I’ve heard.

The singer said he hears the city
with no alarms or cars.

The song unreal
and true. Pigeons shit on anything.

One August, an hour out of the city,
the light lost it.

What was an electric
keyboard is a horn.
After recently pointing out that Athens, Georgia poet Lily Brown [see her 12 or 20 questions here] really should have a trade book published [see my review where I say such, here], I was corrected by the author herself, who pointed out the recent publication of her first trade poetry collection, Rust or Go Missing (Cleveland OH: Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011). With a small handful of chapbooks under her belt, it is good to finally read something larger, a collection of measured, considered poems by a poet who, despite years of publishing, seems wise enough not to be in any particular hurry. I’m impressed by the precision of her language, and the sharp turns she is capable of, incredible and smart and sudden. A collection of physical and textured lyrics, Rust or Go Missing is a collection of reminiscences, a collection of memories that disappear, even as they are being recorded, as the title and title poem suggest; do one or the other, perhaps.
First Position

In the library, as much quiet
as you can fit in your head.

I walked across a giant stone and
bloodied my knees on the way up.

There’s another giant stone, one I
can’t climb. I take the sleeper train

through an old-fashioned intersection
near the Florida-Georgia border.

Everyone waves to me. White book
with blue circles. Blue book with white

circles. Paper pile bound in black.
Hands emboss the library’s walls.

It’s dark again, in the between-finger
spaces. I’m done and the thoughts are

gone. This isn’t the greatest time.
All around me voices sell their sinkables.

I separate the one from the one.

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