From the first words on, a poem begins to perform itself, establishing a logic and vision as you read. Like someone you bump into on the street, a poem wants you to go with whatever kind of interaction is happening at that moment. Sometimes it’s small talk; sometimes it’s carrying furniture out to a car and could you get that end, thanks! However it plays out, a poem wants a reader to go with it, the payoff being that you end up somewhere different than you were.
This week’s poem, “The Hand” by fellow CantoMundo poet Rodney Gomez, asks the reader to go with a story about a severed hand and its fabulistic travels. Each turn in the hand’s narrative charges the overall meaning further. From sugar cane fields to a highway of hands, the hand builds as a symbol of work and want.
This poem also made me think of the Yasunari Kawabata story “One Arm” from House of Sleeping Beauties. In that story, a young woman removes an arm and gives it to her lover to take care of for the night. This removing of self only to return to the self stranger is an act undergone repeatedly in daily life as we live in varying roles at work, at home, with others in general. Art has a way of slowing down the process of living, so that it’s understood for the life it consists of.
The Hand – Rodney Gomez
Midnight some time ago, I severed my hand & let it loose in the sugar cane fields outside my home. The next morning, being so drenched with want, I remembered how much a good hand is worth & went to find it. It was panting at a nearby well, next to a neat row of baskets filled with cane. Thinking it would easily reattach, I pressed it against my wrist – but strangely the hand didn’t fit. It scuttled away & I followed, arriving at a city of cardboard in the brush where a highway of hands flowed, swollen & tired. My true hand was there, struggling to pull a time clock into a tattered shoebox. Under the lid was a bleeding pinpoint – glowing hot, too bright for my eyes – accepting into itself all our loveless works.
from Mouth Filled with Night, winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize
I also want to share news of some upcoming readings next month in my hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. At each of these, I will be reading from Everything We Think We Hear as well as Reasons (not) to Dance and other chapbooks:
*)Wednesday, March 9th 2016 Del Mar College, White Library, Room 514: Reading & Book Signing 11am
*)Wednesday, March 9th 2016 Del Mar College, White Library, Room 514: Open Mic feature
*)Thursday, March 10th 2016 Texas A&M University Corpus Christi: Opening Reader for Laurie Ann Guerrero 7pm
I’ll also be spending the afternoon doing a talk/reading at Foy H. Moody High School the Friday of that week.