186.1: George Life:: from precarity
9 March 2015
For a long time I've thought about keeping a journal. But then uncomfortable questions emerge. What goes in? What stays out? There's the additional anxiety of a journal being traced back to an "I": a journal is never to be taken as fiction, but non-fiction. The "I" in the entries is always me without mediation, without ventriloquy. George Life's precarity project tests how the act of composition, of adding and erasing, might discover a signature that is at once "I" and "not-I." The achievement of these poems is a combination of embracing and editing. Even the kitchen sink has gone into these poems. Meditative lines like "formal which is to say a kind of purity" culminate in the "violence / and splendor somewhere west of Houston" in the first entry. In a second entry, the act of eating potato chips and a translational play on free radical leads to this realization: "free radicals / radicales libres eating Lay’s what we learned yesterday fails us today." Life's precarity is a palimpsest journal, or what Bloom might call a site for poetic crossings. In these evocative lines and unexpected breaks, we track the movements of "I" that is always somehow other and yet eerily familiar, the "I" that I inhabit on the page or in the world.