POEMLAND Chelsey Minnis

2 posts

“To Enchant Someone Meaninglessly…”

mininis

Reviews, Yesterday I mentioned how they can draw you in, make you want to click to cart on amazon dot glom, run to your local bookstore, or — if your biblio-habits are bankrupting you — enter a hold on your interlibrary loan system.

This happened with Chelsey Minnis’ new book Baby, I Don’t Care, which I could not secure due to all the holds. So I reserved instead Poemland, an older book with no holds. And no holds barred.

As a poet, it’s always interesting to read a wide swath of different voices and styles, and boy, howdy, is Minnis’ voice and style different. In Poemland, she elopes with the ellipsis. The exclamation point doesn’t scare her, either! And the single-space thing is for more conventional types. (Check the mirror, friends!)

Although the poems are not named, they are spread out between black divider pages, so I’ll take that construct as a “poem, ” Minis-style, and give you a sample from Poemland here. Have fun! (I think that’s the point, Jeeves.)

 

I want to sit very calmly with my bangs curled…

But my pet monster has bitten my hand!

 

Life makes me sad.

So sad that I walk down the street etc.

 

When I read poems I don’t like them…

But I like them like pouf-roses…

I like them like gilt saws…

And I like them like dark brown ram shearling!…

 

To enchant someone meaninglessly…

Is like getting insulted and kissed by your riding instructor…

 

This is when your hair sticks to your lipstick and it is so cuckoo…

You close the bedroom-dividing curtain…

 

Gold smudges…and a gemstone powered engine!…

A great devalued thing is a plain life…

But I like it like a venus-fly-trap pried open with tweezers…

 

I like to live a hard life but I know I shouldn’t do it…

I should live an easy life or I am a fool!

 

The sea-crabs try to cling onto anything.

 

The crab fishermen don’t even want all the crab…they want

money…

Even though their mustaches are covered with ice…

 

If you are a person you can also be someone’s goat…

I can tell you all about it for free…

 

I can long remember a nastie thing…

If it is well done..

 

This is a present of tiny pretty scissors…

Which you must use to cut your beast hair…

I am a vile baby…

Look, death, I have so much delicious vulture food within my

chest cavity…

 

I look to the left and right with my eyes and then I swing the sharp

thing…

As you rise out of a cloud on a mechanized ┬ácontraption…

 

If you open your mouth to start to complain I will fill it with

whipped cream…

There is a floating sadness nearby…

 

Don’t try to walk away from a little girl like me!

 

This is a recollection of flopped happiness…

And it is a fistfight in the rain under a held umbrella…

 

There is a way to smoke your cigarette and look out the window

but you’ll never get enough of it.

Chasing Today’s Hot Property

baby i don't care

Typically, this is how it goes down: You read a review of a new poetry book (say, Chelsey Minnis’ Baby, I Don’t Care), and it intrigues you. Going on interlibrary loan, you find the book, place it on “hold,” and see you are hold number #23 on 2 books in the system.

So you get in line. If you were in England Comma Jolly Olde, you’d get in queue, but in the Very Unjolly (These Days) Estatos Disunitos, you get in line with the other 99%.

Then it dawns upon you, sun and all. This poet has written previous books (say, Poemland). So you search and find one of them on the library site’s digital catalogue and, of course, there are zero holds on it even though it is the same poet of the moment.

poemland

This is because the old book is yesterday’s news, and if there’s one thing people cannot abide, it is old news (and people).

Canaries are one thing. They read old news lining the bottom of their cages. Ditto puppies, who are traditionally trained to leak old news on the floor. Before they learn to take it outside, I mean.

Anyway, happily, the voice of the searchable poet is the same in the old book as it is in the new book’s excerpts. And if you read enough of the old books, eventually your hold on the new book will inch up the line and you will be notified that it’s ready and waiting on your beloved public library’s “reserved shelf.”

Only then you’re on to something else. Some other poet. Your interest in the old “gotta read” has waned.

Why, you wonder, is interest always waning? It’s like the interest on your savings account at the bank, which has waned to 0.86 APY.

Whatever APY means.