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

cathedral,
          spotlight


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


where
                  wren—




Blackout


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
light
—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—