By Greg Bem
Here is a portfolio. A portfolio of poetry slit down the middle and splayed, reviewed, then put back together again. Or maybe not. Perhaps the ideas that feed into this portfolio’s first existence are just buried beneath the surface, waiting to be questioned. Tweaked and remarked upon. This evolution is the pleasure we find in If Not Metamorphic by Brenda Iijima.
You sway in erasure
a tiny eclipse by your lips
your hands conduct contiguous marks
made with each expression
soothe, you do
and construe the world
If Not Metamorphic is a gentle read of a book and each poem feels natural to the head, mind, and heart. These poems are neither intimidating nor precocious, and Iijima presents each poem cartographically as plants in a garden. If Not Metamorphic is a comfortable and poetic landscape which surrounds the reader with information with startling velocity.
At the behest of
clockwork simulacra simultaneity
bottom lines brine, indelible bargains
If Not Metamorphic challenges the reader with penetrating, subtle, and sneaky emotion. The book is tough in its morphology and Iijima is both structured and flavorful in her choice of language. Regardless, the book is almost too approachable for its frequency of abstractions.
Consequent interstitial ruins ruin ruin reservoir urge
canopy for canopy for coffee table
their suggestion, to seize in all direction
no entropy when it comes to Aristotelian
nervous systems it kills like a cure, triumphant
History bandages the wound
Can you read into this book? Yes. Can you read into this book even more when you’re? Yes. Fusing abstraction with lingual play the expanse of poetic territory operates as an invitation. This inescapability is the versatility of If Not Metamorphic. Iijima leaves all ambiguity behind, tossing her words about as poetry coming at us from all sides. If Not Metamorphic is ready to be read.
Begin this book and you’ll find yourself confronting a barrage of inter-spatial, inter-narrative questions. As much an assault on your consciousness as a query of the poetic speaker, this initial series does not offer much pause. We encounter verse that is both playful and bluntly serious from the very beginning. Following a trail of Wittgenstein logic our narrator remarks, “We are all missing”. And yet we have so much to hold to.
Iijima leaves us with a reference to an autobiographical inspirational moment and it’s nothing short of spiritual. Nothing short of geographical. Iijima creates a folio of images and thought, as lively as roots sprouting up from a nutritious base. The best pleasures are the finest details that we experience throughout the book’s growth.
Our bodies line up as pure value
Transpositions in a game named musical chairs
Consequence of this shows at the vortex
Author: Brenda Iijima
Publisher: Ahsahta Press, 2010
Price: $17.50 US