Eyewear is pleased to welcome Jessy Randall (pictured) this Friday just after Valentine's Day.
Reading her poems online, recently, I was struck by her fresh, witty, whimsical take on eros, and other matters. The poem I've selected below perhaps exemplifies what I think is best in that aspect of her writing.
Randall is a rare books librarian living in Colorado. Her poems have appeared in Asimov's, Drunken Boat, and Painted Bride Quarterly, and she has also written for McSweeney's and Brain, Child. Her poetry is forthcoming at Nthposition. She hopes to publish a second issue of her zine, The Huge Underpants of Gloom, later in 2008.
Her first book of poems, A Day in Boyland, is now available from Ghost Road Press.
The Zone of Loneliness
“He was surrounded by a zone of loneliness” – Carson McCullers, Clock Without Hands
This is a palpable lack
one I can feel with my tongue
the emptiness of my mouth, the bed
of my mouth, the recurring metaphors
flying over New York City.
The act of missing you has become love
the way a bathing suit on a hook becomes dry.
In the novel Einstein’s Dreams there is a town
where no one has a memory and so each night
you have sex for the first time with the man
you met one second ago.
I love you like shaking orange juice:
do it longer than I have to
because it feels so good.
In my dream, all the men I’ve ever known
move to my town and see me accidentally
at the grocery store. I look so cool
they wish I was still writing poems for them,
bad poems, love poems, poems that they
fold up and put somewhere, and eventually
throw away, do they throw them away?
You are like chocolate milk for ten cents on Fridays --
predictable, delicious, I drink you with a straw!
You are something to look forward to
all week long drinking only water.
There were five in the bed and the little one said
I am writing about you under a fake name.
You are the last extra blanket
in my cold, cold life.
I am seaweed in the ocean and all your friends
are picking me off their bodies, not wanting me
to touch them, but you are just
floating there, letting me wrap around you.
Tales of the apocalypse are nothing compared
to the disaster that is us together.
Supposedly we went to Europe, but that is
not to be talked about. Now when I call you in Prague
my own voice echoes back over the phone.
With this one it was fruit sodas at Algiers.
With that one it was Marx Brothers films.
What do I think I will lose if I lose you?
I try to empty the contents of my soul into yours
but you are as insubstantial as a kitchen colander.
In Clan of the Cave Bear, Ayla was
the first woman who could take all
of Jondalar into her. She was like
a yeasty crescent roll around him! He was so happy
he let her think she invented everything!
All my valentines are little clouds
that float away in tiny envelopes.
In New York the valentines are snowing down,
but here, in the South, nothing freezes.
Trying not to fall in love
is like trying to be quiet because
the sign says “Warning: Avalanches.”
So I tiptoe quietly on the ice and
try not to sneeze. But guess what?
Avalanches can start for no reason.
In my dream we took the wrong elevator;
the petals stayed closed.
He had only to touch me to bring me to my knees.
But I could not find my keys.
When I’m with you I shoplift orgasms
and place them in your hands.
You lick them up, taste me, you are me,
you are the first man with no holes
for my soul to seep out of,
and now I am in the zone of loneliness.
poem by Jessy Randall