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Glass is Really a Liquid


Bruce Covey

October 2010

Sima Rabinowitz

These are poems that will launch you “Into the air & land, two feet before / Every syntactical permutation (green).” Covey’s syntactical permutations are designed to “keep you teetering / on the edge,” considering the “hollowed out dictionary” of our lives and the “unexpected rivalry between east and west” (that constitute “Meaning”). His permutations extend to card shuffling (“the fewer of spades,” “the thigh of hearts”); a restaurant meal (“A lobster targets your toe”); a “declaration” with alphabetical aspirations (“all all are ask bad be bring cease comes day date drive / earth end faith felt few give give grave groups hints hopes is”); and a truck accident (“Forcing a spin, what direction”).

The poems in Glass is Really a Liquid define particular moments of our lives and identities with original, uncanny precision (“the picnic part of you”; “you like it all, wish to travel / With the smoke of the blown candles wishing // This fabulous birthday wasn’t someone else’s last”). And they capture the absurdities of our reality, well, absurdly: “Breezes the train I can reach I can clip the hedge quickly, the / one with whom we are timorous & chafing tuff tonight. Which / one’s art’s? The circle at the end of the lap.”).

There are boxes and circles and lists. There are prose poems and a sonnet. And there are poems that serve as “notes” on the poems that precede them (“Notes to Section One,” etc.). There are poignant questions (“Are there more sand grains or bacteria cells? / You’d know, if they hadn’t invaded & overtaken Your lungs.”); and wistful conclusions (“Amidst what’s true and what have been”); and (uncharacteristic) little bursts of romanticism (“To ensure the sky will be blue for you / I’ll hire all the two-seaters in the world / & tie crepe paper to their tails”).

“Do adverbs crawl into soft you speak?” the poet asks in “Kneeded that.” Read this book if you like or find interest in the strange, and urgent, and mysterious, and original, and unsettling.

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