By Dorothy Barresi
Winner of the 1990 Barnard New ladies Poets Prize.
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Additional resources for All of the Above (Barnard New Women Poets Series)
Last night, asleep by Dorothy Barresi's manuscript, troubled by the contradiction of having to speak, in prose, about what renders me speechless in her work, I dreamt I was in a little jewelry shop, in a rundown section of Jerusalem, waiting out the slow day with the keepers, mother and daughter. They wanted to know, with the simple curiosity of the deeply faithful, what I believed in. We were speaking in Greek. I said I believed that human beings were imperfect, the word for that being unfinished, that we were alive because we were unfinished, and that, since god was life, embracing the imperfect was embracing god.
Because Hope is like that. Blind and bleached white, revising itself every million years to climb out of the crazy swamp and live. At the Used Car Lot day-glo flags are snapping and popping 24 hours, and you ride that rhythm in a prone position. They wave their mutant arms to you, and you can't help it, down on the mortal sidewalk you wave back, astonished as anyone. Page xvii The milkie way, the bird of Paradise, Church-bels beyond the starres heard, the souls bloud, The land of spices, something understood.
Foxgrape, bluebearded iris, the notched green of simple weeds swirls up where I used to stand. There is nothing else left, not love, but only its possibility, my sister and I untouched by all that might have been. Page 37 Venice Beach: Brief Song Maybe Zizi is right. Rocket a mile up, look back, and we're all just earthlings in restaurants talking low, trying to figure one thing out, or stop one thing from happening. And all the crystal meth in the world cannot lift even one of our bodies free of this argument, or set us clear of the boardwalk's great stake in pleasure.
All of the Above (Barnard New Women Poets Series) by Dorothy Barresi