Can I Finish, Please?
Not-quite-woman, not-quite-man, not-quite-animal, not-quite-flower: the poems in Can I Finish, Please? are shape-shifting acts, lyric interruptions that crave and resist completion, where the mutable self and the world are made and unmade over and over. These poems explore hungers, from appetite to hedonistic consumption, from prayer to a yearning for generative resolution. An exiled couple remakes a ruined world out of buttons and string; tools give advice on love; a magic walking stick guides a speaker through haunted stone quarries; beds turn into musical instruments; a great antlered deer lives inside a locket; flowers transform into frogs, dogs, hobos in a lecherous garden that howls and laments on the violence we do to each other and the world. Pain and loss are recognized as necessary elements in the making of a self.
from “Walking Stick,” from Can I Finish, Please?:
…You charm me across rope bridges and lead me to what was never lost, where the future becomes past. Tonight under this full moon, a dense tuft of fox hair caught in a rose briar shines. Here where I walk through my own night, the night I offer to you as my own. Walking Stick, where am I? Grinding at the ground— To go over a river where there is no river and dream a dream I can’t remember to dream. To come on a cloudless night. To reason with the wind on a path. Smoke follows beauty, he said.