Friday, July 30, 2010

Aimless Reading: The I's, Part 3 (Brenda Iijima)


Around Sea
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Iijima, Brenda
Around Sea


I think this may have been sent to me by the author. It is not inscribed, so I don't have a perfect recollection.

I met Brenda about five or six years ago in Buffalo. She arrived in town alongside Jonathan Skinner, on the heels of an ecopoetry panel or something like that. Several of us spent an evening hanging out in Isabelle Pelissier's studio in the Tri-Main Building.

I remember two things from the visit.

First, I remember introducing myself to Brenda as, "Mike," and then later overhearing her say to someone else in the room, "Oh, is that Mike Kelleher?" and feeling a small swell of pride that I had been heard of.

The other thing I remember is that Brenda gave me a small button with a picture of some kind of elephant or woolly mammoth or whatever on it. The lower half is taken up by the animal, a brown, hairy elephant with long tusks, and a bright sky blue fills in the upper portion of the circle. A price tag, $2, sticks to the back, above which is written, "x700." I put the button in my pocket and later dropped it in my sock drawer, where it has remained these last five years.

from Around Sea

"The rock and water grow human."
--Robinson Jeffers

Some sweet ancestry onward
lionlike, elaborate this tug of lineage
collaboration and a whirling fan
glues together with trick up her sleeve
nursing moonish and ripe

Yet

cloth smears a heavy line
particles from vehicles
grease and dust
along window sill collect

soot like the ink in text
daily news of

suburb and city
merge and unoccupied land
is long overturned as cores of tree
make way for boards
genetic points to spring
off of. To filed. Gigantic crops
feed a brutal population
as it expands beyond
each chainlink fence. Belted bloated gut
once fed
killing resumes
in curt. Heavily armed troops
file noticeable nails.

Dessicated          privilege          fashioning
Curbs absorb compression
Names abstract each destruction
Bright creatures of indifference
flay out each latency. Each message
confesses tolls. Paid inquisitors
forge the bulldozed hills and
sickening lawns stay still.

Neon grin consumes
tenuous strands of
skin                    bottle
fed.          Perfect
temperature for ice
to melt.

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