Julie Carr on an excerpt from "Rag"

In crayon drawings


Some persons lie buried in fire and some have been suspended in a wave


Rain withdraws its praise


I'm unable to rest, her hunger crying through a vent


I wanted to unzip her coat, to slide a hand


Under the body of a car


But I was never one to fix a machine. Elsewhere the nest of the wasp


Other, the birch-bark and lichen


The townhouses stunned by foreclosure


The bubbling well in the mall


Now are we wanting plaster surrogates


To gather nightly in our halls?




"Like a maelstrom with a notch"


This world can dizzy even a womb


And mine is just a bit of breathing


A bit of breathing through a line


Not because I'm humble, because I'm made


Made to be humiliated and to be adored


I've never until now sensed two terms


To stand closer together than these




To gather nightly in our erosions


Our data bases our platforms our diagrams


If that's how you want to think about it


If that's how you want to think about it


In the blue dusted dawn of a feast day


I'm certain to dissolve in the fever


Of what pours from your skull, o clarion sun



On an excerpt from "Rag"

The central concern of Rag is violence against women and girls as it surfaces in film, fairy tale, daily life, the news. Against that, I wanted to record intimacies of all kinds, but especially between children and parents and between friends, as a response, maybe an answer, to such threat. This untitled poem form the book addresses the precariousness of individual lives—this feeling, which lurks around the edges of things, and sometimes asserts itself in malls, neighborhoods, and families—that we are only dispensable.

The opening two lines of this poem from the book describe drawings made by my daughter that struck me as rather apocalyptic. The longing to fix things, for intimacy as healing, arises briefly, but the poem quickly turns back to the feeling of crisis and abandonment, though now the focus is out in the world: the neighborhood, the mall. When the poem shifts back inwards, it's toward the body as "foreclosed upon," toward the position of the female as at once adored and humiliated. At the end of the poem the words "erosion" and "dissolve" form the emotional ground. In the economy of exploitation and waste, the human is devalued, temporary, expendable. 

 

 

 
 

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