Lizza Rodriguez

of Miami Shores, FL

Winner of the Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourne Student Award in 2013

Glory Be What Going See

 

Beware of jet plane parts

with the squeeze tube

kite string men

and fistfuls of sky

they say I look like

telephone wires

an extension cord

of myself

I am high risk voltage

in a burning building

with the lights out

fire engine playing

café blues

I was dilly dialing

when the phones rang

then I ran out

like red roses

emptied out my petals

for lingerie

very much Venus

flying trap

anything that suspends

can't be trusted

like an empty schoolyard

he caught my pulse

on recess

hung me like

luggage

but I didn't pass

the security check

so he called me

a pilot with no

wings because

women can't fly

all that often

anymore

something about

the cockpits

and being small inside

like a business man

I'm not sure

what it means

to be 30,000 feet

above everything

but maybe I don't

need to see it all

just in case my

parts come off

and he's all that's

left after the crash.

line

Gabrielle Calvocoressi on Lizza Rodriguez

I was dilly dialing/when the phones rang/then I ran out/ like red roses. If that perfect balance of formal rigor and imaginative acrobatics is any indication, the world of American poetry has a great deal to look forward to as the poet comes into their maturity. The great pleasure "Glory Be What Going See" affords the reader is its ability to take objects of the everyday (planes and fire engines, cockpits and luggage) and through the use of surprising syntactic patterns open to a world of physical and emotive meanings and consequences that move beyond what one might normally expect of the poem. At the same time this isn't simply play for play's sake. As the poem progresses and becomes more comfortable with its own dialect the connections become increasingly intimate, this becomes a poem about gender and the relationship of power to scale. Notice how the speaker recedes by rising 30,00 feet and how doubt creeps into this poem at the moment of greatest physical distance. "But maybe I don't need to see it all" That's quite a claim a quite a bit of distance traveled from the burning buildings and high voltage wires at the start of the poem. This is a poet who knows how to use syntax and the line to keep us moving forward without losing our sense of being deeply grounded in the poem. That's something that often takes a long time to learn and one often has to relearn that skill. The poem is funny and smart and makes the reader turn back for a moment to see how the poet did that. And the language and technical skill is bracing enough that we don't turn back for long because we want to see how it's going to all turn out.

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