A thing is a cicada when it tends toward sexual disorientation
& I is an orient in the sense that all things wend toward me.
Aditi Machado’s debut collection, Some Beheadings, is a delicate meditation on the origin of thought. Somewhere between Wittgenstein and Rilke, with splatterings of Gertrude Stein, each page is a flower opening to reflect spring. “A wind blows, the desert unfolds.” “The desert melts, the sky’s glass.” Some Beheadings reads like bits of a shattered rainbow.
Vignettes on breakfast lay beside prose poems about grammar. The next page may hold sensual couplets or sublime stanzas on gardening or a tercet describing the desert. One never knows what is coming next or where one image ends and another begins. Machado has built a collage of surprises. There are no titles, only sections. When you expect flora, anatomy arrives. Page 63 has three words:
Page and wordplay keep the ideas flowing. Lovers of philosophy or Bashō would love these words. If concrete, graspable, structured verse confessing the quotidian are your cup of tea, look elsewhere. These are not drops dependent on a red wheelbarrow beside the chickens. Machado’s offerings are flights of linguistic fancy, attempts at describing the moment a word arrives and asks what we should do with the gift. “Archaic” is a playful and condemning example:
Then I spoke a spoke.
I spoke a sentence and ye took offence.
I thought a new burnished make that.
I have nothing new for ye but an ancient latticework I rot.
Minimal, unique, puzzling, and beautiful, Machado’s Some Beheadings, confronts logic while massaging the heart. No matter how heady the words fall on the page, there is always a sense of the author holding your hand in the rain, asking difficult questions while wandering without destination, but always holding an umbrella over your head to keep you dry.
René Char, Georges Bataille, make room for Aditi Machado, a new-image maker needs space on the stage.