The Corners by Karen Solie April 28 2015
by Karen Solie
Where the question are you alright usually finds one very much
not alright. Cellphone at the bus stop, cellophane, wind,
Hasty Mart in its collar of pigeon spikes. With smokes
in front of the sports bar, careerists mid-shift lit at dusk
by the inner light of cheap bottles
of domestic. Like payphones, cords have been cut
that tied them to the world. Let me off in the primary
neighbourhood, I’ll walk the traffic’s bank,
its decorative plantings and contradictory signage, the current,
I can’t brave it. Fortunes approach right-angled in their vehicles
of delivery, hearts beat quickly in anticipation
or dread inspired by the landmarks. How long have I resided
in these years of gentrification and not realized
they’re gone — the inconvenient, inadequate, or taken
for granted? The psychic welcomes no more walk-ins
in this life. Time is short. Though a timeless sublegal
entrepreneurial spirit flourishes over which laundromats preside
geologically, with deep sighs, belying
with the state of their drains their adjectives. No one
can be alone like they can. Pedestrians, obey your signals.
On the boulevard of a two-stage crossing he reads in her
an imminent change in direction. We were here once,
hand in hand at the intersection of the cardinal and ordinal,
blessed with purpose, and the Star of Poland still in business.
In her fourth collection, and the first since the Griffin Poetry Prize–winning Pigeon, Karen Solie advances her extraordinary poetics of impetus and second thoughts. Ferrying the intimate self through the public realm, these poems meditate on the tensile strength of our most elemental bonds and beliefs.
Consistently attuned to the demotic and the enigmatic, she returns our language to us as if new again, in a style somehow both nomadic and steady, both unpredictable and meticulously crafted.
Intelligent, witty, tough-minded, and perceptive, The Road In Is Not the Same Road Out offers Solie’s most exciting and captivating work to date, in poems of natural contemplation and uncertainty ranging under the aegis of lyric grace.