The inspiration for Down to the Bottom of the Sea
cw: death, drowning
If I need to tag something else, let me know.
I’ve read other poetry books by Adrian Bouvier before, (though apparently I never wrote something on Drown, whoops). But anyway, when I saw he had another book on Amazon I had to buy it.
This one was a lot harder to get through than the last ones, since this deals more with parental abuse, guilt, mental health, drug use, and death. Bouvier has both a detached and a striking way of approaching these subjects, and it hits painfully.
I think Stag was my favorite. Reading it, it has a rhythm evocative of being chased, of an inescapable feeling of running from something, running from everything you’ve screwed up.
(And, without pics)
Don’t Come Home:
“they say that good men go to war and don’t ever
come back. they say good men go to war.
they say that good men don’t come home from war.
they say good men go to war, and while they’re there
one of two things will happen:
1. that good man will die, or
2. a different man will come back home in a body
3. that once belonged to a good man.
you came back, if you can come back from home,
in a hollow thing. with a hollow thing. as a hollow thing
like a skin you can’t get rid of. the war found a place inside
you to hide and now it’s wearing the good man’s face
you used to own. and you are the hollow thing. you are hollow.
good men do not come home from war.
they say good men go to war. they say bad men
start wars and good men go to them, because it is right.
because that’s where they need to be. you never went.
you never went. you just got born right here. you were born
with a gunshot splintering you out of the womb. you
were born like a bomb out of the belly of a jet. you’ve
been at war your whole life. you’ve been a war
you’re whole life.
you are not the good man who came to this war. he died there.
he died somewhere in between not being able to cry anymore
and that third month in the trench when he shot a man rather than
let him linger. when you learned what mercy is when mustard gas
is involved and he learned he wasn’t good anymore.
they say good men in love go to war and one of three things
1. that good man in love will die, or
2. that man in love will die, or
3. that love will die.
and they’re right. nothing stays the same in war.
nothing survives the men’s slaughterhouse that ground
becomes, and especially not love. it gets twisted up,
gets all strange when you sleep on it, creases folded in,
memories faux-gilded in light of all that gore. even
sinning love. even love illegally gained and kept.
you can put that sinning love in your mouth and chew it
into a different shape, a new kind of awful: nobody cares
in a trench. nobody goddamn cares in a trench.
no good man comes back from a war. nothing good
comes back from a war.
good men start wars and good men die in wars and
good men get lost.”
If this sounds like your kind of thing, check it out on Amazon.
Check out the rest of my posts about poetry here.
Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet are ten letters exchanged over the course of five years. It begins with one young author to another, looking for advice on whether their writing is any good, and continues on with talking about life, love, and human nature. Rilke does like to ramble a bit about religion, too, but that’s neither here nor there in adding or detracting from the letters, I think.
It’s not just about poetry/writing/art, but self identity and the unknowable future. I read it in the earliest hours of Christmas Day, when I couldn’t sleep because of stress. There’s a transcendental-like quality to the words.
Here are the quotes I found I connected to the most (from Stephen Mitchell’s 1984 translation):
“Things aren’t all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.”
“A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.”
“…keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your whole development; you couldn’t disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to questions that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.”
“…we are unspeakably alone; and many things must happen, many things must go right, a whole constellation of events must be fulfilled, for one human being to successfully advise or help another.”
“Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them.– Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentations, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgements their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened.”
“Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast.”
“But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.”
“…if there is nothing you can share with other people, try to be close to Things; they will not abandon you”
“The future stands still…but we move in infinite space.”
“In you…so much is happening now; you must be patient like someone who is sick, and confident like someone who is recovering; for perhaps you are both. And more: you are also the doctor, who has to watch over himself. But in every sickness there are many days when the doctor can do nothing but wait. And that is what you, insofar as you are your own doctor, must now do, more than anything else.”
“…[your life] is now yearning forth beyond the great thing toward the greater one. That is why it does not cease to be difficult, but that is also why it will not cease to grow.”
I absolutely recommend this, whether you’re a writer or not. Despite me not quite being able to convey everything about it.
But if this sounds like your kind of thing, check it out.
After buying several poetry books, Amazon kept recommending me milk and honey by Rupi Kaur.
This book of poetry was split into four sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking; the healing. And though Amazon does give it high ratings, the poetry felt a little…lackluster to me. Maybe because it’s very simple and short and there’s a lot of it about the same things. The poetry doesn’t often have titles and only a few lines per stanza, and very few stanzas, and few words per stanza. There is a sort of beauty to the simplicity, but I just like more to poetry. *shrug* That’s my opinion.
Despite this, there were several poems I identified with. Each section tackles relationships- familial, romantic, and personal- and the author’s relationship to themselves and their writing.
A lot of these poems reflect on insecurity and loneliness, redefining life, and finding yourself.
I’d seen this poem before, on tumblr somewhere, applied to UMY Troffy and GC.
Sorry the picture quality’s so crappy on these.
These last few poems are probably my favorite from the collection.
If this sounds like your kind of thing, do be aware that the first couple sections of the book tackle abuse/assault/non-con situations.
Remember that one poem I shared that I was Caps-Lock-talking over in the tags of the post? That was from this book by Adrian Bouvier, so I decided to buy it.
I sorta had mixed feelings about this one at first. It’s vague and often hard to pinpoint who the narrator is. But it sort of tells the story about a mobster, his boy, and his lady, and their destructive love for each other. In many ways, bits of this remind me of my UMY garbage court, because of their murderous nature and fierce love.
I finally managed to go outside to read this time.
As the collection nears its end, the poems get better, in my opinion. It talks a lot about life and death and memory and meaning and all things I often think about when it comes to my own writing.
As far as I know, Amazon still has free shipping with at least $25 of books, and I’m all about free shipping.
So if this sounds like your kind of thing, check it out.
A collection of poems by Najia Khaled, aka toxic-nebulae. I followed her work on deviant art for a few years, a little sporadically through college, but when I knew she put out a book, I decided to buy it.
Khaled uses a lot of metaphors with architecture, magic, and science, captures both the mystery of the world and the simplicity in it, death and life, feeling different even among strangers, loss and love, and mental health.
I wanted to share some I liked.
adamantine Atlas isn’t, but, rereading it reminds me how much I like it. I favorited it probably three years ago, and yet it still holds true. Perhaps truer now. Hmm.
Amazon still has free shipping with at least $25 of books, and I’m all about free shipping.
So if witchy poems by Moroccan-American lesbian poets are your thing, check it out.