Publishers WeeklyThese two new books give ample evidence of the strengths and idiosyncrasies of this popular New York poet, who is probably best known (at least to the MTV crowd) for having run for president in 1992. The longer collection, Skies, beautifully portrays the sweet metaphysical tragedy of having to bear lonely witness to one's own experiences. In an untitled poem beginning "The whole mess/ of it troubles me" (recalling Williams's "It's the anarchy of poverty/ that delights me"), Myles seems deep in the zone of this Heraclitean flux: "There's clouds/ painted on clouds/ is rusty russet/ the sky now, smooth/ like old cream..../ Our moments are/ so damn fast the/ turn of the boat/ my clumsy pen/ my heart beating...." The painterly description practiced by significant influences Frank O'Hara and James Schuyler gets dropped, compressed and narrowed into two-plus word lines that supercharge their openness, adventurousness and charisma, drawing in any new idiom, trashy or otherwise, that might have just been loosed on the streets: "The moon is/ so not a/ star," begins one poem. An essay in On My Way, "The End of New England," is even more colloquial ("That was the motto, the notion I heard in a talk by Avitall Ronnell about five years ago. Do you know her she's a theory person she was very stylish for a while..."), and that book as a whole seems designed to point up Myles's shifting, often quite intimate forms of address. Myles might be threatened with a sort of Bukowski-esque ghettoization, considering her ability to be incredibly interesting, to be the native informant of a life lived punkily on the streets, but her speaker is simply having the best of both worlds, as working-class Bostonian and New York aesthete. (Feb.) Forecast: Myles recently published a memoir of her Boston childhood, adolescence and coming to queerdom entitled Cool for You (Soft Skull). The Black Sparrow book is the longer and more handsomely produced of these two new poetry collections, but Myles's considerable following will seek out both. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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You think it's one color but it's not. Closer and closer the folds appear not a deeper blue grey but a heavier one and finally just inches above the trees it's a small bright seam full of smoke, not really bright but allowing the day as much as it needs.
* * *
There's this gesture where one part of god is pointing at the other part. The fingers of the sky, a day diving down a hill in which you feel accepted.
* * *
All the sex radicals and the buildings, brown and grey and green tipped on Columbus Day heading to Liberty and I saw a yellowish sky probably dirty and blue scooped clouds with a thin plane slipping through like a tiny neon fish in my aquarium when I was ten. The fish pokes through a series of brighter white and pale blue veils of sky it's the bouncing ball of my eye. Grabs of smoke, glistening balls of clouds so still and just hovering over the knotty landscape of buildings popping up. And something chimed as we move through the water.
* * *
There are the stripes of my day the lines that cross the streets that carry me
the knowing language of the almost night the cough of the throat the pressing blue I'm pressing through
* * *
Jonathan's back from the country of Tod and I'm back too.
You get out of work on Irving Place, I mean everyone at dusk in this long pause and then the green eye
an old game board of lurches and howls
I should be so
secure while I'm riding
We deliver Coors He's dead. Matthew Shepard's simply gone
little scarecrow with his scarecrow desire
Excerpted from SKIES by Eileen Myles. Copyright © 2001 by Eileen Myles. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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