Monday, August 8, 2016

Merle Bachman

Here: There                                     

Green Yunan Tuo    sweet yet rootsy    fragile  bitter-twig
    flavor    of gold leaf,   honey

  a tea so delicious you can drink a pot
   not think twice until your heart starts doubling its beats

London tastes like this
at least   in Hackney   (Islington?    deBeauvoir?)   a large wet garden strewn
with fairy lights
   & writhing worms

She’s in London tonight
  drinking Yunan Tuo    though actually in Kentucky, marking
  students’ work
                as another mass of clouds drifts from the West
     about to release
- slit by lightning –
             sky-rivers obscuring trees, cars, ground

In London
it tastes of

      bitter-fig    at once
pressure and      a being free

    exhaustion & comic dance light-headed through pulsating streets    

all the things you can eat, drink   read     see        in London

         --What does it mean then 

to drink green Hunan

humid August night in southern state

     bracketed by      rolling country miles of highway    an entire ocean to the East

            necessity of steel   tonnage  a crammed    jet’s lift
scrawling deadly carbon on a night sky to even
      approach the distant city.

      How the real locks her in
  disparate time slices reading:      Louisville 8:39 pm EST       1:39 a.m.  there

                 the impermissions    to not partake in     simultaneity although
    this life   experienced maximally layered

       the multiverse & all that           spooky action at a distance  
    quoted by    a gorgeous    movie vampire

oh Darling       (darling London!)    
          you cannot come to visit     so I    
will come to you---

This poem is part of a developing series into which I am crumbling fragments of experiences from my travels to the UK over the past decade. At present, this incipient ms has a formless's still emerging. But this "green tea poem" presents (I hope) some of the strangeness of living in more than one place when you are physically anchored in (just) one.

Merle Bachman is Associate Professor of English at Spalding University in Louisville, KY where she directs the BFA in Creative Writing. Two chapbooks of her poems have been published, as well as two full-length collections (with the British press, Shearsman Books), the most recent of which is a fractured memoir called BLOOD PARTY. Bachman is also a translator of Yiddish poetry and was a Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow in 2015.

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