Thursday, August 12, 2021

Deathbed Sext

In the title poem of Deathbed Sext, by Christopher Salerno (Two Sylvias Press, 2020), I learn that "You can pay to receive / five texts a day that say, Don't forget / you are going to die." These days, I can't forget! And these lines got me in "The Byronic Method": "When I sexted you a snorkel you sexted me a squid." "When I sexted you / a telescope you sexted me the moon." 

I'm loving the variety of poems/books I'm reading for the Sealey Challenge, and the random coincidii. Last night thunder woke me up, and today it kept rolling through like tanks. In Deathbed Sext, I find battlefields and this: " woken by thunder in the middle of the night..." (means "You'll Never Get Back To Sleep Now").

The book starts with a shocking hit-and-run accident, the speaker of "Headfirst," a boy on his bike hit by a car that drives on. Made me think of Raymond Carver's story "A Small, Good Thing" as adapted and interpreted in Robert Altman's film Short Cuts. But here the boy lives and presumably grows up to be a poet. 

There is serious stuff but also humor and wordplay, as in "Dickinsonian Pics": "I heard a phone buzz when I died. / Your sext lit up the larger darkness." And I love the "waltz[ing] away from what // once was monstrously male..." that threads in and out of these poems, summed up for me in the line: "I was sent to fetch a crescent wrench that wasn't even there." The futility, the performativity.

And I love this closing stanza (equal time to hens, after the roosterishness above) from "At the Farmstand During the Solar Eclipse":

     Not even noon but the entire farm
     is going dark, and every last hen,
     from instinct, returning to the coop.

Book cover artist: Noela Kanecka (Isn't it wonderful?)


No comments: