Two prose poems from Catherine Taylor
Ugly Duckling Presse writer Catherine Taylor kindly read for us back in June. Here are two extracts from her most recent book Apart:
if you activate parabolas of paint, a concrete floor can switch the drips to
semaphore a disappearance subject to a kiss my apparatus lacks ink enough
for all this confused back and forth of black on white exclusion and desire,
(lingual and eclipsed), weak documents of history and affection’s oscillation
wreak a politic reminder that the self, while of no matter, still clings like a
baby despite fond exhumations where butcher string dangles from a rafter,
stuck in looping ovals; eggs of time and rupture. As my eldest says, enough
science, you already know it never travels the same route twice.
bad family’s a cancer or a cause, celebration’s inevitable denial flaunts misdeed
and even evil cleans its teeth in the mirror of not me, not my people. Claims
can’t corroborate or be made for maids and nanny’s not talking now except
to say, those were happy, happy days, so long ago and I can’t understand
any of you. Language haunted by history. Languages haunted by histories.
Up the ante on your etymologies. Grammar may be a structure of
domination’s nation, but just because it sutures subject to object or predicate
or property doesn’t mean disruptions jump the fence with any consequence.
Maybe vernacular’s an agent of unruliness, or maybe its in the swing
between verse and chorus of writing as praxis. Esperanto’s whacked dream
to make a necessary mash-up of internationalisms cleaves language between
itselves. That’s the polyphonic shit you crave. Language as both bond and
division. Wracked syntax a revolution won’t engender, but at least there’s a
thread from boredom’s doom. Patience. All this hearing and being heard
takes time. From chaos to story and back is meaning’s green oscillation.
Catherine Taylor is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her writing has appeared in The Colorado Review, Hotel Amerika, Jacket2, Xantippe, Postmodern Culture, Action Yes!, Witness, and elsewhere. Her first book, Giving Birth: A Journey Into the World of Mothers and Midwives (Penguin), won the Lamaze International Birth Advocate Award.
She has worked as a producer, writer, and researcher on a number of documentary films including “The Exiles” which won an Emmy Award, and was a Co-Founder and Producer of The Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Taylor is also Founding Editor of Essay Press. She received her Ph.D. from Duke University, has twice been a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town, and teaches at Ithaca College.
You can pick up a copy of Apart here.