Got my contributor's copy of Calyx today -- as usual the cover art is gorgeous, and though I haven't sat down to read it carefully yet, a quick skim found several poems that caught my eye. And in the "can't throw a rock without hitting a blogger" department, our own Jeannine Hall Gailey is in this issue as well, with a Denise Duhamel review.
(Please don't take me literally. I do not advocate throwing rocks at bloggers, or at anyone else. Thankyouverymuch and we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.)
It's been a long time since I got a contributor's copy of something in the mail -- now I feel like the drought has ended. A nice feeling, for sure.
In honor of this publication, and because I've been enjoying the poems-by-others posted by several bloggers lately including C. Dale and Carol, here's a poem from a book published by Calyx Press -- Femme's Dictionary, by Carol Guess. I knew Carol when she was here in Bloomington working on her MFA; she got the degree in poetry, but then published two novels and a memoir before getting around to publishing a collection of poetry. She is quite a remarkable writer, whose work I have always admired and enjoyed; the book explores issues of language, identity, gender, love, loss, queerness, amnesia, sex -- all that good stuff. Well worth tracking down.
She says she wore a dress that first Saturday,
but I say, Skirt, skirt,
insistence darkening my lips
as if the difference
between cloth or a zipper at her waist
might've held us together longer.
I like to call things by their names.
I like to make my words match,
as much as possible,
the thoughts I'm holding onto.
Not love, but a stranger's hand
in my jacket pocket. Not aquamarine,
but the color of blood
between a woman's thighs.
She was different from me.
She enjoyed lying,
the way a hand touching the surface of the water
enjoys the water: its frail and fleeting clasp.
What is it makes impermanence so sensuous?
She liked to watch
me leave, needing the sound of a door
to remind her of where my lips had lingered.
Not bedroom but vestibule,
nine letters to describe the space
she cleared for me. Not quite a room.
---Carol Guess, from Femme's Dictionary (Corvallis, Oregon: Calyx Books, 2004)
[Edit 2/9/06: Sorry about the broken links and the missing graphic -- apparently Calyx chose this moment to revamp their entire website! I'll fix the links when they restore the content to their site...]