185.1: Portia Elan:: An Orphic Almost-Sonnet & Time & Time Again Desire Overcomes The Heart & #NoFilter, or This Is The Closest We Come The Truth Tonight. 185

I just ate the last of Klondike bars. My lover comes in to the office, leans over me where I am working, kisses the back of my neck and asks, is it because I ate the last of the apples? A pretty moment, funny—one of shared intimacy. Why we love each other perhaps. But is it a poem? No, probably not. It was there, now gone. A fleeting moment that I can’t do much more with. And this is why I am so envious of Portia Elan’s work, its ability to transform the everyday into the holy. Elan employs an internet parlance, oft dismissed in our serious Poetry work here as low, in a way that is altogether new and exciting.

In “#NoFilter, or This Is The Closest We Come The Truth Tonight,” she is able to transform the banal, twee phrase, “Let’s be totes for real,” through a series of moves into something more, something like prayer. Appearing in the selection the line, “a rote Dickinson poem,” as meta-criticism, what was rote is anything but: throughout all the work, formulas are broken and repetition is used to create difference. Perhaps the opening poem, “An Orphic Almost-Sonnet,” gives us a hint to how to read Elan, an almost-Orpheus with her ability to charm all living things, with language and song to propel us forward, never a need to look back, never a need to apologize for eating the last of the ice cream. Nik De Dominic

An Orphic Almost-Sonnet


In hydro – in halo – in helio – am wanted I, like,
slipped wrists between, like, laugh-me-out-loud while inside you,
like, girl please. Literally all I want to do is listen to your heart beat
through the shell of your ear. Literally, my hands
cannot bring you close enough; the crickets cannot rub any sweeter.
Girl – f’real though. F’real. In the key of – in the moon of –
a tumbled gift thigh, how I sing in, how I taste up.
Everything leads back to this one triggered juke, this one
– literally, this one – cracks the creamed ice, opens the purse,
says, Portia please don’t break my heart while also tugging
me across the bed & girl – please. I am to please.
Like, I am uncouth in being, like, I’m going to have to shush myself now.

In all this, I am lost without your grace –
a simple, inelegant fool saying over & over – She has a lovely face.





Time & Time Again Desire Overcomes The Heart


Oh Lord when you sing that low-down song, the sun-stroke rocks come tumbling toward the house.
For butcher or wolf, the gin has loosed my joints.
And be you wind or gift, I take you in the teeth.

I bend to shoeshine; the moon, to your bare shoulder through the pane,
what words could replace this slow kitchen dance
Lord when you sing that low-down song.

My body with your body — a rote Dickinson poem, the V’d geese, dumb fire, my sweating palms
pray I am Jill; I am Jill. I know I do not love you.
Be you wind or gift, I take you in the teeth, though.

In the prairies the roses come from hothouses far away where bees gather up my lust.
Winter licks every highway out beyond us.
Oh Lord when you — sing that low-down song: the stones come tumbling toward the house.

Once, I am a tin-snipped piece of solder to your touch;
I race and race, if only to become myself. I burn to melt.
Be you wind or gift, I always take you, I take you always in the teeth.

Darling let them take down the walls.
My whiskered desire will survive.
Oh Lord when you sing that low-down song, the sun-stroke rocks come tumbling toward the house.
And be you wind or gift, I take you in the teeth





#NoFilter, or This Is The Closest We Come The Truth Tonight.


Let’s be totes for real
Like, let’s be real
I am wicked in her
— say it —
how ridiculous
wicked
in that word
wet
& on fire
& not even a little
good

not even a little
released, like
not even a little:

undone in her
unclenched but oh
how tightened

here take on a thousand stones
here give me back these licked bees
here & here, like,
here — how I want her

having sucked the marrow
having danced through the kitchen
in the honor of the heat

like, I am for her.




Editor’s Note: Time & Time Again Desire Overcomes The Heart was previously published in the chapbook To Yield Like Water and Nothing Else from dancing girl press.