"The Heart is Green from So Much Waiting" by Sampson Starkweather [by Amy Lawless]
I picked up an amazing chapbook by Sampson Starkweather at AWP in Denver way back in April called The Heart is Green from So Much Waiting. I only got around to reading it two weekends ago, and it was stunning. Daniel Magers' Immaculate Disciples Press in Brooklyn, NY produced this handmade book, and what can I say? From its poems to its layout, to its hand-sewn binding I was impressed! Each poem is titled with a roman numeral, and each poem roughly fits into the theme of the "super hero."
What I liked about these poems is that they're smart and yet also very near to the memories of our [we who grew up into the 1980s] now-fatal childhoods--the voice these poems are written in is familiar, casual, and smart. The co-mingling of the near--playing with toys, fifth grade, the way power was held in our imaginations as we played with our superheroes when we were kids, and the deflation of not holding any such superpowers any more...once we grow adult and reality sets in. My favorite poem is reproduced here (with permission of its author):
Invisibility is easy; if I
could have 1 super power
it would be fucking you, or maybe to be you, fucking me.
I’m speaking of own(h)ership,
the betweens and in-
sides, the 2 tiny indecisions of the thighs, the boundary of
sacrilege, tougher than water, another thing to be broken.
Inside, we’re all made of laughter and exploded feathers—
in the 5th grade, Ms. Lawson pulled a crow from
which, on being found out, thrashed and cried and explained
its fear of being an animal of white snow, of disappearing
into the blank endlessness of thinking, which is why I
with a skull full of excrement and a wish to kiss
the livid throat, the crow that cries from being found.
Super heroes never had to deal
like these, so it’s with this radio lodged in my neck
that I set my frequency to suffer, extract
in increments of night, any memory
until I’m alone with the would-be trees,
black forest of vespers and pure thought,
I resettle into someone else’s shadow
and in order to feel closer to you—
What does it mean to turn green? I can't help think of Superman and his kryptonite, but I'm sure some nerd would mention the Green Lantern, and some other references I was too busy playing "Barbie Whorehouse" to pick up on.... Heh heh! The final poem in The Heart is Green finishes on an evocation of the rain muse, i guess: "Rain, sing me into this ocean." And there, it ends with what can only be transformation [drown? die? blank page? growing up?]-- hell, what's the difference?
Thank you Sampson, for writing such an exciting, spellbinding chapbook! The Heart is Green from So Much Waiting is available here.: http://immaculatedisciples.blogspot.com/ . Hurry now. There were only 150 printed!