203.1: Carleen Tibbetts:: from DATACLYSM.jpg
18 July 2016
This morning my coffee shop crawls with toddlers, hipster toddlers—they all have mullets. While putting cream into my coffee, hung over, I part the two in front of me to exit. One trips over my feet and face plants right into the polished concrete floors. Seconds pass, nothing, and then blood from his nose, he wails. I apologize to his mother but she reassures me I have nothing to do with his fall. In the car, Joshua texts, ‘Hey was I being an asshole last night?’ No, I respond, not at all. “I have this vague feeling that I was,” he says. Today is already heavy with the guilt and terror of living. This week, we present four from Carleen Tibbett’s Dataclysm. The suffix -clysm: break, broken, crush, bend, destroy. Dataclysm—I think, then, overwhelmed by data, broken and crushed by this anxiety of living, the endless information. Tibbett’s work is so approachable yet resists easy summary, a tension created by availability and that the windows of the shop are painted black and we can’t look in. Each poem ends with a .jpg file extension, and each poem is a tiny, perfect image-making machine. Experiments where in the “infinite types of darkness” words are made, “spectralnestled / in the somewhen.” We sometimes know it’s not our fault, that we did nothing wrong, but we can’t resist the need to apologize. Tibbetts' poems remind me of my need to be absolved.