The headnote to William Rankine's Radical Cartography website comes from Jean Baudrillard. “It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire but our own: The desert of the real itself.” Scott Abels inhabits vestiges that include Mexico, Hawai`i, and Nebraska. Their landscapes are very different, but Abels is more interested in their parallel dysfunctions. The boys who lose arms on Mexican trains join missing hands with the unemployed in the American Midwest. “We can depend upon the land. / But we cannot depend on jobs.” He codes his family history with symptoms (e.g., Rx = prescription drugs; SRP = Strong Religious Preference). Not that everything is hopeless, as Abels remarks with a wryness worthy of strong whiskey: “Happy journey, / Everybody. / We had medical care, / and Coca-Cola / has reached us here.” This is global capital's family tree, whose diagnosis is dire. But Abels's prescription makes the desert of the real a carnival. It's a “Dick Cheney Parade,” and Christopher Columbus shits bricks. Given an oil spill or other disaster, “Whoever owns it / is lord of all he wants.”Read more »
Kristina Marie Darling’s Double Feature: The Arctic Circle, Failure Lyric
Today I review one of my favorite writers for a Double Feature. Kristina Marie Darling’s work continues to inspire me and sets my imagination spinning.
First is The Arctic Circle, published by BlazeVox books in 2015, is a haunting collection where the ghost of the first wife lingers over the current couple’s lives. The current wife begins slipping into the first wife’s character, alarmingly the husband voices approval. The environment surrounding them grows cold, frosted over in ice. Below I am happy to share a few pieces:
The name I was given at birth was no longer my name. When I arrived at the reception hall, I was mistaken for another bride. Laced into the wrong dress, wearing the wrong shoes.
My husband would later confuse me with his last wife. He thought I was supposed to bring him cigarettes, and for a moment that seemed right. He mumbled as I handed him a purple lighter, and I left behind the only life I’d ever known.
But we were so good together. I never argued with him, afraid for years he’d remember his first wife was dead.
This poem describes our main character slipping into an expected persona and losing her individuality to make her partner happy. I fear the number of women who do this daily. I wish they would fight to keep themselves intact. Here, the bride succumbs to what is “expected” of her.