118.1: Eryn Green:: Dear Beings, I Can Feel Your Hands & Blackout 118

I often leave writing these intros to the last minute, much to the consternation of the other editors on the TOA team. I get email after email reminding me, chiding me even, but there’s something that won’t let me write until the day before we go live. I realized today that this is an unfortunate practice. I’d read Eryn Green’s work before and knew there was much to go through, but how much I wasn’t quite sure until I sat down with it today. I knew that this was a poet who does his work, unlike, say, myself. And as I reread the first poem of Green’s packet, its title “Dear Beings, I Can Feel Your Hands,” I decided of course that I’d write about aliens. Surely this is a poem about aliens. Aliens holding hands.

Then I googled the title. I’d missed the Robin Blaser connection, and welp, it was down the rabbit hole with me. Within minutes I was going through John Danvers’ critical text Picturing Mind: Paradox, Indeterminacy and Consciousness in Art & Poetry, a work that explicates the Blaser poem through the real "in the form of death and the future…a field of potential or possibility, just as the material universe (the other) is indeterminate, a field of energies in a state of constant change” (Danvers 181). Wait, so these are poems about the real? Being real? The unreal? Belief? The paradox of consciousness through or because of our indeterminations? This would now make sense as Green writes in “Blackout”: “I believe you and it really is glorious—really / something else / Not the real but stuck to it…”

Shit. These are not poems about aliens.

But let us pretend for a moment they are. (I went out last night and my mind’s a bit fuzzy, so do me a solid.) Imagine these aliens holding our earthly artifacts, then trying to locate them within their alien framework, the slippage that occurs as they run through a database of objects of the like—where surely this thing must be a coffee cup, then it blurs; of course not, a Christmas ornament; of course not, a snowglobe; of course not, a kiss. Imagine now the way that light plays in this world, differently than the aliens’ own. How it will reflect and change as the aliens move through space, the landscape, throttled along the topography of the world in their craft, the same way we might drive a backroad in to the city through the night’s sky. Imagine these aliens now encountering this place that Green inhabits, a “world so rare it ripples.” Imagine these aliens now and what they will do with Eryn Green’s work. Nik De Dominic

Dear Beings, I Can Feel Your Hands

Small voice of my father saying

little piece of dirt facing

small boat harbor—

On Tuesday, meteor

and then on

Thursday, riptides. Spouting

Horn—What am I? To be

the mast of such great admiral—

Sit down. Dear beings, I am afraid

I have lost my ruthlessness and cunning

along with a bay horse and turtledove. There

are flowers stuck to the ceiling. Seriously.

What have I near the water? My family

moves around me. I have decided

nothing (scares me). I look out across the water

and a spindly black spider

turns out to be a tide crab. Little sister

saying that’s a moth’s wing—up close

Set waves, tide

more like a feeling—my mother saying     look

at how many people died while we were away

Thin series of blurs

like I was never there at all

Like the other day I heard a woman

talking to her friend at the bar     I feel

like I’m not good enough. I’ll never make money

again, never fall in love. I don’t know

where to go when the doors close

I can’t just go out and buy a wheat-colored soul

write a sadder poem—startled

by windows curved up in the shape of

fins. Up and behind my head

the shadows on the table spin

for us. We are in love—if I could

spend my life  beneath palm fronds

into which walk     little birds and saunterers

Clouds wrapped around iceplants     if I could only

find one of the letters to God

in the street—I am still new to town

The kids on the lawn go around

the light. I don’t get it. The first word

I hear on my birthday

is windowbox—charming of treetops

and songs on the radio

calm me down. Disarmed

but hopeful—thank you

I look up and


not having to

          imagine beautiful rooftops

—I find myself in that


And the feeling of girls laughing downstairs—

lucky enough just to scan the flights of birds

stand under bleachers     in the snow

blurting out kisses—like a man

the cards kept urging forward

the world so rare it ripples

in the photos I develop, I tell the clerk     go somewhere

and make yourself happy. All the lights in the ceiling

say flood. Make me happy—feeling of.   I say

a feeling left of

windblown. I want to live

in a world where rooftop tennis courts

covered in confectioners snow stadium lights

on all the south-facing windows—world where

gates ajar     rend my prayer



Night over asphalt—passages in the snow—night over asphalt
just wanted to be a host—a place for brightness to pass over
a million different animals all crashing into a kitchen and breaking
nothing—keep thinking: God moves to the ends of our prepositions
like an open shirt—suddenly it’s all leaky doors and thunderstorms
like forgetting something—it’s all green—and then a blackout
everyone in streets


          the wind that hit
those grasses
          was an animal. I mean you
can see it
          but only in patches. Only
by the yellow light
          its teeth flashes off
I was driving downtown
          when what I thought
was chandeliers
          was sky actually
teethed on two sides
          by exposure to buildings and trees
a new kind of world—its name

                       I believe you and it really is glorious—really

          something else
Not the real but stuck to it
          Not full, shot through with
—if I ever stop thinking
          this is a wilderness
pepsi can forest
          in the tall rusty bushes
growing through steel dark
          bleachers, echo of
somebody else’s for-rent
          whisper on the phone—if I ever
wanted to be this carousel
          of night sounds—all I can think of
I want to be an extra pair
          of movie-set lights
I was standing in flowers
          inverted by bell shapes
and suddenly everything’s done
          so forwardly—