Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 59 (Cole Swensen)

Numen
Swensen, Cole
Numen

Not sure where I acquired this book. Possibly at Rust Belt Books.

I saw Cole last year in Denver at the AWP conference. She was sitting with her husband at the bar at a restaurant where many offsite readings were taking place. They were talking with Jonathan Skinner. Cole was wearing a stylish black leather jacket with a diagonal zipper that went all the way up to her neck.

They were discussing a problem she was having with said diagonal zipper: it was stuck. The three of them were having a hard time figuring out just where the zipper was catching. They were about to give up when I happened along. I think I may have been with Dan Machlin, or possibly Suzanne Stein, both of whom I hung out with quite a bit during the conference.

Anyhow, all three of them looked at me and asked if I could help them solve the problem. I took hold of the zipper and tried to examine it, but the light was dim and I couldn't really see anything. A pack of wooden matches sat before them in an ashtray on the bar. I took two matches out of the box and asked Cole to hold still.

I lit them both, then held them close to the the neck of her jacket. There, beneath the flicker of the match, I could see that the zipper had caught on a piece of fabric from the lining. I blew the matches out, took hold of the zipper, removed the offending fabric from its path, and unzipped Cole Swensen's leather jacket.

All in a day's work.

from Numen



11

There in the 
photograph of your 
perfect body 
unsealed rooms 
and the walker at the edge 
of the highway a person 
you don't 
recognize 
all the blinking lights 
Things meant 
to be seen from a distance 
other cities 
such a frame 
around the believing 
fractured body 
flames and refuses 
an envelope of water 
or water counted and 
exact

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