038.1: Kendra Grant Malone:: when a ship hits an iceberg… & there is no truth in what the others say & A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN BE ALONE & FURNITURE IS SELFISH AND UNFORGIVING 038

I only have an hour to write this. My Mac has stopped taking a charge, and soon I will be without a computer until I make the drive out to the Mac store in the 'burbs. I'm told that when you take your computer into the Mac store, they run a UV light over the machine, looking for bodily fluids (semen, blood, the like). If your computer is corrupted by these fluids, the quarantined machine is immediately wrapped in a plastic bag and handed back with tongs. I imagine this is quite an embarrassing event. I also imagine most of us have something on or at least in our machines that we want no one to see, no one to know about—including the teenager who works as a Mac Genius in Metairie, Louisiana. My situation seems an apt metaphor for a discussion of Kendra Grant Malone's work. First, there is the pressure of time. Each poem with its curt little lines, each line unit standing alone, is over as soon as it is uttered. The lack of punctuation and traditional capitalization creates an ephemeral quality that explores the lack of permanence in the speaker's relationship with others that's echoed in this selection's content. As soon as her first poem ends with the solitary word "moment," it is over, and we are left alone, disquieted. As a reader, I have momentarily achieved connection, but now that connection is gone.

When reading the work, at times, I feel as if the speaker has whispered secrets into my ear, and I'm left not with words, but a feeling, a feeling of intimacy, one that comes from unbridled honesty and exposure. This honesty is what initially drew me to her writing. These poems are uncannily brave. I am often amazed at our dishonesty as a culture, that our natural inclination when people share things that are truthful and universal is to recoil. I love too much and not enough. I cry. I drink too much. I say awkward things to lovers and friends. I write things I shouldn't. You do, too. There is so much shame, needless social shame. From time to time, I want to grab the barista by his shirt collar, and tell him, I know—despite your impeccably quaffed hair, beautiful smile, perfect pants and quiet air of disinterest—that last night you were alone, that many of your desires go unfulfilled, that there are things on your Mac that you want no one to see. And that's OK. Me, too. Kendra Grant Malone knows these things and is unafraid to share them. She is recalcitrant to the fact that many will return these notions in a plastic bag, at arm and tong's distance. Nik De Dominic

when a ship hits an iceberg you have two choices: flee to the life raft or let
the icy oceans take you with them


i just took 10mg of valium
im sitting at my kitchen table
waiting to feel a bit softer
my roommate is a painter
she favors the hues of sunsets
so our appartment is mostly red and pink
it is easy to look at
i might be incapable of holding a grudge
i want to stay angry at you
but i cant
i suppose i dont have the heart for it
i just poured another glass of wine
my last lover wont call again
he stopped calling
he was so very beautiful
but i dont care so much
because he was not so nice
and wouldnt stop talking about himself
tonight it feels so very nice to hunt alone
i might be very drunk and stoned right now
i think i am writing this because i have no one i want to talk to at this very
moment


there is no truth in what the others say


why is your smile so pleading?
she shrugged

i suppose i just didn’t want
to talk to you.

he winced

are you in love with someone?
she thought for a moment
then answered

i don’t know, are you?

no.

shame on you then.



A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN BE ALONE


WHEN I GOT OFF THE TRAIN TONIGHT
I WANTED TO BE
BACK IN THE MIDWEST
THERE WAS NO REAL PROMPT
FOR IT
MY BRAIN WAS SUDDENLY
FLOODED WITH IDEAS
OF LAYING IN FIELDS
AT NIGHT ALONE
AND BEING ABLE TO SEE VERY FAR
A PLACE WITH NO HILLS
I WANTED TO BE
IN A PLACE
WHERE YOU COULD BE
ALONE AT NIGHT
AND HEAR THE INSECTS
SWARMING ABOVE YOU
AROUND YOU
A PLACE
WHERE YOU CAN SEE
THE WHOLE MILKY WAY
I DIDN’T WANT TO BE
IN NEW YORK
THE SMELL
IS AWFUL HERE
AND SO IS
THE CROWDING
I WANTED TO BE ALONE
LIKE YOU ONLY KNOW
WHEN YOU ARE FROM THE MIDWEST
WHERE IT IS POSSIBLE
TO DRIVE TWENTY MINUTES AWAY
AND BE THE ONLY HUMAN BEING
FOR MILES AND MILES
I WANT TO SPOON
THE CORN STALKS
TO SLEEP TONIGHT


FURNITURE IS SELFISH AND UNFORGIVING


I HAVE A TENDENCY NOT TO TRUST
FRIENDS OR LOVERS
MY CAT
SHE IS ALWAYS EYEING ME SUSPICIOUSLY
THIS GLASS I AM DRINKING OUT OF
MIGHT CRACK AND CUT MY FACE
THE FUTON I SIT ON
COULD COLLAPSE
AND I WOULD EITHER BE
BADLY HURT
OR EMBARRASSED
I AM VERY GOOD
AT KEEPING MY
SECRETS TO MYSELF
I’VE NEVER NEEDED TO
SEEK SHELTER OR APPROVAL
FROM ANYONE
NOT EVEN FROM
THE FUTON
ALTHOUGH
IT WOULD BE NICE
IF THE FUTON COMPLIMENTED ME
ONCE IN A WHILE