July 19, 2007


(I've been thinking lately about the esophageal tract -- the relationship of sound to poetry. And how a hand on the throat, in desire as in violence, is real. But if poetry is written in a third space, some place less obvious than the colors blue or red, then where is that space? I contend that it is metallic, off-white and filled with women. There are soft lights and a faint odor of chilled peppermint liqueur. So what about Loveland Family and Cosmetic Dentistry on North Cleveland Avenue? As a venue. Venue 1, for these parallel notes.)

I am writing this on a dentistry pad. The kind in a wicker basket on the receptionist's banquette. Is that a word? I want a blanket, there on the reclining chair. And hold it open with your fingers. And wire it open like a jaw. Now I'm shivering. Are you shivering? Can I get you a quilted coverlet or a bolster for your neck? Please keep your hands where I can see them at all times. Just relax. But I like it. I like to receive an altering touch. To the mouth, to the teeth, the soft as to the hard. Yep, I'd like to book my next appointment.

Venue 2: A room, the next street over. I'd like to keep going, but that would be to fantasize. Something about poetry keeps you in the padded chair, where you belong: irradiated, legless, smiling witlessly and yet with ardor at the strangers who surround you when you wake up from a deep, deep sleep. They're asking you something but something about about poetry makes you drool and respond, in fragments of your true speech. I don't know if it's poetry. Are you normal? Are you a conventional patient who's come prepared with a supply of kleenex tucked into the sleeve of your cardigan? No. Clearly, you're not. You should go home. I'm going to call you a cab, ma'am. You're in no condition to drive.

—Bhanu Kapil

Posted by dwaber at 12:10 PM