Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Featured Book: This Visit, by Susan Lewis

This Visit. Susan Lewis. BlazeVOX, 2015.
Susan Lewis lives in New York City and edits Posit. She is the author of eight books and chapbooks, most recently This Visit, How to be Another (Červená Barva Press, 2014), and State of the Union (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014). Her work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in The Awl, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, and Connotation Press.

An elegy to "this visit" of the living to our own existence, This Visit is a pastiche of lyrical and probing dissonances assembled from intimate voices yearning for a connection as deep and ephemeral as “your desire and your embedded thorn.” Like our mortal trajectories, the world of these poems is captured in its struggle to take shape, like Michelangelo’s slaves emerging from the half-hewn stone, or Duchamp’s nude descending a multitude of unsettling but resonant linguistic staircases.

In the fissures and gaps of a malleable lexicon, Susan Lewis’s playful, punning, musical lyrics create spaces for a reader to explore. In her “mythic stickiness” edges are blurred in service to an “everlasting loop.” Her poems are oddly intimate, full of a wise skepticism and a quirky grace—perhaps more of a place to live in than to visit. (Joanna Fuhrman)

This Visit


This time
which is “yours,”

that face you covet,
the hurt it bleeds,

blows landing
puff with satisfaction

shamefaced as childhood,
as roundly accidental.

What is to be done
with cliff-edged blunders

howling & hollowing
your unfathomed deeps?

—As this time,
your time,

whittles you,


They too must age, decay
& slowly quieten.

& can only live,
more or less.

& choose,
more or less.

& search furtively or not
for the nonexistent exit.

(Mother, what you could have told me)
(Stranger, what you might have known)

On the wall with no writing
through the dark glass

(floor littered with doll heads)
the grenade of your despair

plus sleep, that sweet rehearsal
(fingertips in love)

wistful bones withering,
winding down—


these mountains seeping
sighs on loan,

lording over
our boundless lack,

impassive as viscera exhumed,
impulsive as firmament festooned

with friction &
aimless fury

while the debt of the body
on loan

(this stray ferocity)
(that frayed caress)

or other ephemera
sauced & musical

hurtles, to be contemplated
for signs of betrayal

which should be banished—
the word, I mean, reeking

its sly promise of rectitude
as if we know what should be done

(should we glisten
or should we judge?)

the brittle shell of disappointment
lying in wait

too early or too late
while mountains right themselves

in the purple distance,
blind men send me to offer 

this mast,
this hour,

hanging on the weakening light,
bluing in the deepening night

like a hoarded memory from our
secret past—


& you who are leaner
& more intricate:

float with me in this
brittle bowl,

drink the cruel juice
jagged as sunlight

untying us,
shedding notes like jewels

    (against the grain)
    (beneath this petaled canopy)

never glance at what I am
unless to offer

    (or boldly go)

    (this fear,
    or other jagged edge)

cold mountain
waking to our shame

 & smitten

More Poems: 

Word For/Word 

BlazeVOX Journal  

Click Here to Purchase

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