Catherine Daly reviews Antidotes for an Alibi
Amy King Antidotes for an Alibi BlazeVox Books ISBN 0-9759227-5-0 2005
These poems read to me like poetry versions of flash fiction. Now, I like flash fiction very much, but I like the more fabulistic kind. Amy King is writing the fabulistic kind of flash fiction -- I want to say, "the good kind" -- in poetry. What does this mean? Well, when lineated, the line breaks in the poems point to the jumps in the narrative. When not, the poems still take the same little leaps that poems take. I guess I'm struggling with the new sentence this morning. I am not seeing "torsion" as I understand it, nor am I looking for it -- I am just saying that these poems have little leaps in them that flash fiction of a similar type does not. For example, this poem, "Evening In," is a story of screening a particular kind of call:
Mother phoned the premature death of father to me. A machine shuffled her words. I played back the story of my childhood and grieved.
Now, I would probably end the stanza here, or title it something different. In any case, the evening in begins with a message in a machine. I would think flash fiction might use "the machine" and not jump so quickly to "story of my childhood."
After dinner, blocks of toddler teak wood fell, then floated, mistaken for cork. Household acts boiled over Aunt Max's black pot rim where we succumbed to the likelihood of work. We were all enchanted when the little kettle dripped and wrote proverbs to complete our pact with amazing accents. Dessert hints wafted past raised cups of homeground coffee, whiskey-tinted, under the blue haze of living room light.
In this second part of the poem, the progression is chronological. After dinner, some french press coffee and dessert. I don't think "household acts" and "dessert hints" would be in flash fiction. They are too mysterious. Interestingly, the references to fables and fiction continue, in "enchanted," "writing," "proverbs," "pact, " and "accents." The line break after "dripped" makes it unclear whether the kettle (presumably whistling) is writing or that "we" who are enchanted are writing. But overall, a little story of a poem, which is recognisably a poem, not fiction.
In the next-previous prose poem, "Land into Sea," the jumps are between sentences -- I don't see each sentence doing as much heavy lifting as in a poem, and I see bigger jumps between the sentences. I also see bigger jumps -- associative ones -- than in fabulistic flash fiction. It has the logic of some poems where the themes are established, play together a while, and then reach a conclusion. We start with a relatively concrete example, a fabulistic but also realistic fear:
On the car-hugging road, I am shocked that one day I fall asleep and the stray dog could die.
Not the road is hugging the car, not the car the road (as car commercials would have -- did you know most city car commercials are filmed in downtown LA?). In any case, car, road, sleep, dog, death. Very clean and neat. Then, out of the shrubbery at the side of the road -- a crowd.
These orders of truth awaken self defense, so urge the crowd, "Betray yourselves." Every fugitive deserves retreat at depths the bathysphere can't reach.
Who is the fugitive? The narrator? The dog. The dog and the narrator. The narrator is more likely to fall asleep and die than fall asleep and kill a dog. I.e., life is fugitive. So you see, by figuring out the difference between the first sentnce and the second sentence, you've got poetry, because flash fiction tends to spell this sort of stuff out, not point all sorts of different directions. But, note, this is sentences which are addressing different people and having different characters, not necessarily "torque-ing" as I understand it.
Since lame-o short reviews usually mention the title, I'll say -- I like this title and the way is points to the flash fiction in poetry theme. For what is an alibi, but a very specific sort of potentially verifiable narrative. And what is an antidote to that, but the fabulistic.
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Here is some witty poetry (not sure if that is the proper word: witty, but it will do): one poem on the Aztec year 2012, a year that has been in the public's eye quite a lot; one on cloning, and the biblical end time events--which, if I may add seems ripe for the monster events that are said to take place; and two poems dealing with some tradtions of Peru; one imparticular, on vacationing, where not to go; all the makings for some thought.Aztec BabyOn December 25, 2012 AD The Devil had an idea- He'd clone himself In the form of a baby; Called the Antichrist.
Memoirs of a Wastelands Rim [a Poem: now in Spanish and English]
Memoirs of a Wasteland's RimIt still was light when she paused at the wasteland's rim- Over, the rim rest like a sleeping brute, a wooden frame Adjacent to the blue where early stars hung like oil lamps Hanging from old beams and shade?the wooden frame Her footing caught the beams, as she had fallen onto it Alone, she watched the forenoon, climbing around her A drifter woman, marked by life, and slanting dreams With appearance of hurt and molded muscle on her face Her figure etched against the wooden frame, She tried to jump, and lost her balance, hanging like a bird Now sipping the gloom in the ledge and shattered hopes She yielded before the sluggish advance of sunset Blood dripped, with her dying darkness And a crimson moon hurled a flame across The shadowy clouds, burning throughout the sky The tormented sky above her?Crossing the valley's floor her eye gripped it Rocky images, highest points Thrusting herself up boldly from to the ledge The painted morning blushed over the rim Her brows and nose, face against the granite stone Massive injuries was taking form, Her silhouette floating so indolently across the sun It was too great a task-to die alone?she wished now She had not jumped?a thousand feet below, yet to go. Too much for any woman in a lost world Out of the weak wood her mind had peace; She knew soon it would all be over-alas Mute and protesting against life's uselessness A narrow path lay below her slender body Between death and attainment, a careless foot The rocks beneath her weakening, she plunged Plunged to her death, in the carving hands of the valley Thinking of it, as she fell, thinking with a smiled, Saying, looking up-dead before her echoes: 'Time is short?time is short?time is short!' When they found her, her face was unafraid of falling.
Mechanical Poetry - Part Three
Have you ever read the lyrics of a Simon and Garfunkle song? Pure poetry. Want to write poems like that? Start copying them.
Rules for Writing Poetry
You've been writing poetry since that first assignment in your high school writing class. You know the rules about writing poetry, right? Are there rules? Well, if you frequent the poetry forums across the Internet as much as I do, you'd find that there are a lot of amateur poets who adamantly declare that there are no rules for writing poetry and if someone even suggests reading poetry or books on poetry, many of the amateur poets will throw up a defensive front.
Chan Chan and The Gorriones (Two Poems in English and Spanish)
The following two poems, one in English, the other in English and Spanish were done during this ongoing trip in Peru, while in Lima, although the poem concerning: Chan Chan was oriinally started last year,while at the ancient site in Northern Peru, it was just finished recently.The Gorriones of LimaIt is fall all around me-The Gorriones are swimming in the air Underneath the Lima skyAs if-, if fish could fly?Summer has gone its wayIt is fall again I say! The birds-, they just walk on byLooking, as if, if on parade-AndThe world keeps spinning;They just do not see it Until the hour comes?When the sun goes down!?When,Things get a little dim;Yet the Gorriones keep on swimming Gracefully, swimming, in the wind-Under the Lima sky? .
Three Poems and Paradise Lost [One for Hell, One for Heaven one for an Inca King]
The Torrents of HellHell's furnace- Likened to a chimney Vomits her torrents Of flames- Into the air Through earths crust And the earth's trembles-!Agitated, she projects A thick curtain of smoke To heat the feet of those Who provoke her every wish. Like molten iron She waits for the soul(the moment) Then molds, into her enclosure Human serpents? Out of savage flesh!No storm, no struggle No eruption, no typhoon, Just a terrible phenomenon, Hell is capable of producing; And upon death, Back into the Abyss They melt!.
Never Ever More
Once upon a midnight dreary, coffee cold and vision bleary, all night sat there writing COBOL, coding spread across the bed sheets, changing syntax for the mainframe, having checked my final line, I took the floppy from the drive.Typing with a steady hand, I then invoked the SAVE command, but there below my effectuation, appeared the cryptic communication, "Abort, Retry, Ignore" and nothing more.
Famous Poets Quotations - Top 30 Poetry Quotations by Famous Poets
"For this reason poetry is something more philosophical and more worthy of serious attention than history."-- Aristotle"Every American poet feels that the whole responsibility for contemporary poetry has fallen upon his shoulders, that he is a literary aristocracy of one.
A Dose of Laughter
I'm not well. Can't you tell? Kinda low, so, give me a dose of laughter.
Two Poems: Black Poncho, and Spirits of de Copan [in English and Spanish]
English Version12) Black Poncho(of Saint Cosme Hill, by Lima, Peru)Lost in the grottos of Peru- By the hills of Huancayo Black Poncho was given A treasure of gold?; By none other than, Demonic goblins!?in the form of scorching fruit; Hence, Black Poncho fooled The goblins of oldBy using his poncho to pull The sizzling golden fruit Through the Andes to Lima, Peru!?Henceforward, he was swindled By a jeweler of dire repute. Thus, his life changed (as so often they do); And now he lives with: Thirty-five dogs, on San Cosme Hill.
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