Saturday, August 24, 2019

Smoking In Mom's Garage, Nancy Patrice Davenport

Smoking In Mom’s Garage---

Sometimes a book arrives and I get a sense of the uncanny---like, wow, I’m going through some of the same things, and perhaps similar ages and different, but overlapping “disabilities” (and/or “hard knocks”) have something to do with----all I know is I feel a strong sense of personal presence in Nancy Patrice Davenport’s new book. . I don’t want to sound dogmatically categorical, but when it comes to “themes” or “subject matter” or even persona, these days I tend to be less “uplifted” (is that it?) by healthy body poems than I do when I’m reading, say, poems in which she transforms experiencing epilepsy into beautiful, wise, calm lyrics of self-mastery (“Oakland Epilepsy Siren Song #2” & “Epilepsy Siren Song #7”)…With the exception perhaps of the beautiful portrayal of that dark rock bottom hopeless feeling when you’re too broke to afford the meds you need (“Oakland Rain Song #2”—pg. 60), Davenport’s clear focus is much better at editing out the negative---(emotions? Thoughts?)—and accentuating the positive (“Triumphus,” pg. 26, & even sometimes embracing mr. in between….) and celebrating the “dust bunnies” she becomes very familiar with
on the floor:

a dust bunny trembles in each corner
waiting for 
my touch

Swiffer standing in the kitchen
is giving
me the eye
telling me to get to work

but the    effect  of              dust dancing on    sunlight 
has always

for me   soporific (50)

Not that this book is primarily dealing with “differently abled” themes, or could be reduced to “mere therapy”---many more of the poems are being an anarchist mom (45), about love of men and women and sleep (42) and cats self, liminal sensuous (the fruit in “Poem For My Big Sister”) sexual “body workers” (“Peacock Feather Earrings” 17), desire, curiosity, need, playful fantasies of riding around in a lover’s beard---in post-Niedeckerian and at times even Armantroutian (is that a word?) lyric. I’m a sucker for line breaks like:
“an oriole sings

the world as I
know it…..” (1)

more excepts    
“of finches
the California Valley Quail” (9

Or lines like “electricity shooting             seeds”

Relational---if self is world, other is “Earthly Cosmos” (15)

“my     lover’s stained-glass    story   book     skin…..” (40)

And so many more highlights in this excellent book.

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