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Letters from Robots

  • Image: Image
  • Book Type: Poetry
  • by: Diana Salier
  • Date Published: March 2012
  • ISBN-13: 9780984084227
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 61pp
  • Price: $12.00
  • Review by: Aimee Nicole

After reading the title, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book. It gave me the strange feeling I’d be reading letters, or advice, from the future. Ironically, Salier focuses tremendously on the current so-called Mayan threat of the end of the world. Since we have already lived through a few apocalyptic threats within the last decade or so, it’s refreshing to contemplate the future through the lens of someone who admits that “every friday at 2pm i feel strongly / that i should’ve been an astronaut.”

Salier is constantly coming up with creative metaphors that develop slowly as the lines progress to a stunning ending. For example, in her poem “i should’ve been an astronaut”:

and an extra long french fry
that fits down my throat
forming a cubicle wall in my stomach where
i proudly hang old pictures of us
grinning down at earth from
on top of a lunar crater

This brings to life how much people become a part of you. Relationships are complicated, messy, and full of twists and turns. But the memories are so clear and lasting; you really are above the world.

In her loneliness, Salier is able to simplify things as she deals with the aftermath of her relationships in a hot California apartment. A string of epiphanies is embedded throughout her poetry. Here is one of my favorites, from “this next life is the best possible life & you are living it to the fullest”:

dying men say there’s lots of things
they should’ve done
i don’t want there to be
lots of things i should’ve done
i want
to just do them

As someone who tries to live without regrets, the value of doing what you want to do since you are able to is both empowering and freeing. This Oreos-for-dinner, avocado-sandwiches-in-the-bathtub, girl-who-falls-in-love-with-every-girl-she-sees girl sucks you into her loneliness and makes you wonder who will be by your side when the world ends. It also has you digging into past relationships, wondering where it all went wrong. In “the wolf pt. 2,” Salier compares herself to a domesticated dog while her past lover is an untrained wolf:

you’re just gonna join the military
and get yourself shot like forrest gump
right in the buttocks
it’s not so bad being a domesticated dog
living on food and water and sleep
and the love of a human female

And when you think about it, it’s not so bad. We constantly say that dogs really have it made. Sleeping, eating and being loved. But is that really all they are doing?

Rather than taking the typical whiny approach to the end of a relationship and crying: “Woe is me!” Salier takes you along for the ride and you become her comrade. Our loneliness is different: she experiences hers, and I experience mine. But throughout her book of poetry, we can experience it together. Salier points out that “home is just a rest stop where / the vending machines have run out / of king sized snickers bars.” And I agree. But I keep searching under my bed for those Snickers bars and know some will turn up eventually.

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Review Posted on July 01, 2012
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