EILEEN TABIOS Engages
Renegade // Heart by Lisa M. Cole
(Blood Pudding Press, 2013)
be my urn // my mystic // a weather vane -- // a teller of fortunes // master of séances // so I know // you are my obvious king & cowboy -- // a skeleton fish // made of bones & leaves // your stained eyes look back // but never -- // stare // so tell me // what is // the shape of a birth?
The above is an excerpt from Renegade // Heart by Lisa M. Cole. It’s an excerpt chosen randomly—I just opened the chap and excerpted out what the page revealed. I chose it randomly because I thought most any section from this 18-part poem would reveal its two idiosyncracies // strengths that affected me.
First, I liked the diction’s punchy energy reverberating through the poems’ lines. The second element is the use of the double slashes, “//.”
I need not go on about punchy energy except to say it facilitates an enervated read of the poems. It’s all to the good; you can see/discern it again at this other randomly-chosen excerpt:
I will harbor this // I will hoard this // I will bleed music & put you in the heart-shaped box // the valleys speak in crazy riddles; // you talk to all of the small creatures // & I will tell you this // love the tiny fissures in the bones of remembering // I am learning the snarl // & traversing these roads
But what to say about the use of the double slashes? I have two theories, neither of which I feel strong enough to claim as their definitive rationale(s). But my two theories caused me to enjoy this poem more, so I’ll share them!
My first theory is how the elimination of a line or stanza break, notwithstanding the use of “//,” hastens a reading, which is in keeping with the punchy energy throughout the poem. If you compare this version as presented in the book
wait until night & set // your bed on fire, darling, // sleep with all the dolls // unhook your rotary phone & watch // the broken chandelier as it swings like a marionette // listen, little dancer://some girls just want to watch the world burn
with a version utilizing stanza breaks like so
wait until night & set
your bed on fire, darling,
sleep with all the dolls
unhook your rotary phone & watch
the broken chandelier as it swings like a marionette
listen, little dancer:
some girls just want to watch the world burn
I think the second version has a slower pace than the first.
My second “//” theory has more to do with interpreting its visuality. The lines remind me of cutting—specifically how some troubled girls cut their flesh, paradoxically in response to pain and/or to feel. Given the poem’s subject matter, e.g. Part 3 below, it doesn’t seem like cutting is a big leap to reference in this project:
a story in which I am the damsel, the maiden, a reluctant crowned girl // I slept for days (years) // I woke up confused // & the world was inverted: // spoons did not nourish but demolish // voodoo dolls brought good luck // & you loved me again // to swerve & waver (caper) // to want me supine & ready // yes: the most profound shaman is also stranded in burned ruins
It seems Renegade //Heart is one of three first (chap) publications by Lisa M. Cole, an emerging poet. It bespeaks a promising emergence.
Eileen Tabios does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor. An exception is made for the relational elations of ORPHANED ALGEBRA as that was co-written with another author, j/j hastain--and it is reviewed by T.C. Marshall in this GR #20 issue. She is also pleased to point you elsewhere to recent reviews of her books. Her 2013 book, THE AWAKENING was reviewed by Tom Beckett at L'Amour Fou; by Amazon Hall of Famer Reviewer Grady Harp on Amazon and elsewhere; by Joey Madia at Literary Aficionado; by Edric Mesmer at Yellow Field; by Zvi Sesling at Boston Area Small Press & Poetry Scene; and by jim mccrary and his cat Iris at Babaylan Poetics. Her 2007 book, SILENCES: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LOSS, was also recently reviewed by Nicholas T. Spatafora in Litter Magazine.