Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Cathy Park Hong's Engine Empire (Norton, 2012), second selection

So much of the experience of this book lies in the whole over the parts, such that I feel a little awkward posting passages. Take it from me that the book's strength can't be surmised from the piecemeal.

I'm a titbit, a dollop easily bored,
a trolloping doer, I loll and gag,
fired from the tear gas factory, the denture factory,
now the heart-ticker factory.

from "The Engineer of Vertical Frontiers"

the sitting room is quiet, sprayed
with air freshener the flavor of aged
             card catalogue


           a sea full
of whales huge as ocean liners
singing the call-note of our
relieved tears.

from "Ready-Made"

When your former employer let you go,
they said, you are now free to pursue what you want to pursue.
So here you are.

end of "Who's Who"

I hail an aerocab,
turn up my personalized surround sound
track: wistful to anthemic
to voice
a song strains after a longed
sweet spot of identification.

beginning of "The Quattrocento"

I see too much

yet go, go into the unknown,
             smell the salt, rancid
scent of water, seagull,
blades of grass and listen.

from "Get Away from It All"

The sheer sapphire cliffstone towered so high,
the whole ocean seemed frozen inside it.
Under its shellacked panes of ice were marblings of color
I'd long forgotten: tangerine, topaz,
canary and rose.

Like fluorescing cuttlefish,
the colors pulsed, swirled and bloomed
into contracting rings. The ice breathed.


One day, I decided to steal some.
I pocketed one grain.

The snow glowed bluely in my hovel.
My little lamp.
Then one night I don't know why I swallowed it.

And this is what I saw.

from "Fable of the Last Untouched Town"

At the date of posting, you can buy Engine Empire for 25% off at Foyle's for a mere £7.49 (it's worth it, it's worth it!).

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