Render

Render

by Sachiko Murakami

Paperback

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Overview

Render (v.tr.): to submit, as for consideration; to give or make available; to give what is due or owed; to give in return, or retribution; to surrender; to yield. To represent; to perform an interpretation of; to arrange. To express in another language or form; to translate. To deliver or pronounce formally; to cause to become; to reduce, convert, or melt down, by heating.



A recovery narrative has a known form: what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like today. In a poem, what can be arranged or interpreted with such certainty, by whom, and to what end? What is the relationship of the performance of recovery via a poem to the truth of the experience? Does one deliver the other? Insert into these considerations the experience of traumas. How is trauma converted by post-trauma experiences? What is the retribution of that experience when articulated as poetry? Enter these questions through the dream, with its unrenderable subjects, landscapes, and plots. Where do dreams meet poetry in their spontaneous, opaque, necessary structures? What do such comparisons yield to the waking reader? What can be rendered intelligible in the soup of long-term recovery?



With great ferocity and tenderness, Sachiko Murakami’s poems encounter such questions, and then melt them down, by heating.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781551528274
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press, Limited
Publication date: 09/29/2020
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Sachiko Murakami is the author of three previous poetry collections, including The Invisibility Exhibit (shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award). As a literary worker, she has edited poetry, worked for trade organizations, hosted reading series, organized conferences, sat on juries, and judged prizes.

Read an Excerpt

ENCOUNTER



Would you take a look at this

sweat held together

by dream -- the twined

frays of memory & history

twist of language and the form



a breath endures when you wake up



shaken, the fist

of trauma inches from



the hand of the word that would

submerge the Big Idea

in bathwater



when the adults’ argument

drifts apart

a wah-wah trombone

ear canal awash with whoosh of escape



or come back

to the hum of today

where you could almost feel



what he feels, on the neighbour’s porch

scrolling through his phone

checking for updates



on someone else’s disaster



would you wait on the shore

a minute



passing just like my minute



your sea my sea



there are many names for the ocean

where so many swim

frantic to reach the classroom

to take the test

teach the class

find the almost-forgotten child



your anxiety my anxiety

unclimbable towers

fall in a dream

and all structure



burns as memories

burn into sinew



your sinew

my throat

drift apart

particular flotsam fills

our drowned lungs



but none of it happened



the way I remembered

the moment I woke up



exhaling the dream

into your air




MILK NIGHTMARE



Night training: a babe becomes accustomed

to the soothing taste of absence.

That same child grows up

and chooses a safe word: milk.



*



I say, We need milk. Everyone agrees

to my duplicity. I pantomime mouthfuls

of emptiness, one hand on the doorknob.



*



Need seems like the only memory

when it is present. First driving need,

then flat-out more. Hauled

to the brink of nightmare

conclusion, counting seconds.



Need. Need. Need.

Need. Need.



*



Need more.




*



Claw the dream dictionary

looking for citations

of original thirst.



Scrub the carpet’s traces

of spilled milk.



Count every Tuesday you wake up,

thirsty, needful, sore.




DINNER TABLE



In the dream, the set table signals a romantic meal,

some fruitful beginning to some other dinner.

In the memory, it’s the usual setup, the weekday deal:



my place to the right of the father,

overcooked salmon, buttered rice, pitcher of

iced water. Mother missing. Didn’t bother



to mention the part about the dog’s barbiturates,

how much, how little, the hatred of meal prep.

There is a note asking us to consider what



a life means. We haven’t found out yet.

If I knew, would I have stopped the meal, felt

anything enough to hide my mouthfuls of apologies?



Instead, again, I mime drinking my milk

and taste the spray of panic seethe

through limbs like hot piss, stampeding full tilt



through the here and now, twitching beneath

the CBT techniques. I’m here. I’m there. Something’s wrong

with my chosen procedure. Retrieve fork from between teeth,



chew the flat, unreasonable number. Burning panic of two,

left at the table. The dream meant I could learn how to fully feel.

I’ve lost my appetite for this. May I please be excused.




THANATOPHOBIA



Death rides with her in the backseat of the Civic over the Port Mann again, where an easy earthquake could ungird bridge steel, send the family down into the Fraser, the weight of the river more than a little girl could kick against. She holds her breath from Surrey to PoCo.



Death yawns, trying to trigger a sympathetic opening. She grasps at lungful of air like it’s the last thing she’ll ever have.



Despite Death yelling, continually, Boo!



All those knives, drifting in dishwater. Razors in Halloween candy. Broken traffic lights.



Death nudges her chin up to the sky. Acid rain, Soviet bombs, asteroids. Death shows her the size of his hands, which are as big as planets, as thought.



Death squeezes her heart once she learns what a heart is, and how it regularly fails.



Boo! Boo! Boo!







frays of memory & history twist of language and the form

a breath endures when you wake up

shaken, the fist of trauma inches from

the hand of the word that would submerge the Big Idea in bathwater

when the adults’ argument drifts apart a wah-wah trombone ear canal awash with whoosh of escape


or come back to the hum of today where you could almost feel

what he feels, on the neighbour’s porch scrolling through his phone checking for updates

on someone else’s disaster


would you wait on the shore a minute

passing just like my minute

your sea my sea


there are many names for the ocean where so many swim frantic to reach the classroom to take the test teach the class find the almost-forgotten child

your anxiety my anxiety unclimbable towers fall in a dream and all structure

burns as memories burn into sinew


your sinew my throat drift apart particular flotsam fills our drowned lungs


but none of it happened

the way I remembered the moment I woke up

exhaling the dream into your air

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