Tuesday 14 May 2013

Jennifer Militello's Body Thesaurus (Tupelo, 2013), first selection

Back in 2008, I posted some fine passages from an issue of one of my favourite American literary magazines, Denver Quarterly. One of them was by Jennifer Militello, who in turn found me on Facebook. We met for the first time at the AWP conference in Chicago in 2012 (as she lives in New Hampshire). 

While I liked her first collection, Flinch of Song, I'm loving her second collection, Body Thesaurus. Here's my first selection of some of my favourite passages from it.

Then the color blue, like the pupil music dilates
inside us, throws wet on the line a twisted dress,
so free of the body's stem that within its shape

a storm is seen.


Truth brings in its hissing room.

from "The Skins We Slit Seeking the Vertebrae of Snakes"

I paled like a throat of birch.


Each small animal fallen wild. What I thought
was cold cried in the night like an abandoned well.

from "Personality State: Prophet"

I want to give fate a reason
to hate me and exhaust me and lick me up.


One eye to the nowhere periscope of sleep.


The many bicycles of memory and their many
broken chains.


of road, wind forbidden, excellence of coast.

from "Personality State: Scavenger's Daughter"

...the sky's white sheet drying in the wind....


The wheat has a wind-violence in it yet.

from "Personality State: Persephone"

I am only wolves, a thin endless shiver of what
is undernourished, of what I once saw drinking
with its stone-cold tongue at the plethora of rain.


Death: its mere parasol baptized me once.
My memories are necklaces made from its teeth.

from "Personality State: Animal"

A hungry downriver in my voice.

from "Somnambulism"

Things too thin inhabit our dreams and we take on
their starving.


There is an entire August storm in everything said,
and to open the violent hives of remembering,

we imagine marigolds, birds drowned in the creek,
the lights left on in a room left behind.

from "Afterburn"

Late August already. The jagged at their sins.
God crouching at the labor of us, us crouching

at the labor of ourselves....


I hear reasons not to cry but I am crying to feel
the cold come in like an illness that will recover me.

from "Interview under Hypnosis"

When joy is hollow armor, fractures can be seen
where clean breaks are imagined; in a world
where nothing is clear, the world is a wound.

from "X-Ray of a Rib Cage"

At the time of posting, Body Thesaurus is available from Foyle's for 35% off.

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