I first heard Eileen Myles read for The Poetry Project’s 43rd Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading at St. Mark’s Church in Manhattan. I was in the midst of researching Myles for my undergraduate thesis on their work. Throughout the night, I inched my way closer to
“Well, you do an autopsy on something that’s dead, and I’m not sure our fascination with death is dead. Nor could it ever be, I don’t think. Why wouldn’t we be fascinated with death? That said, the book isn’t about ‘death’ in the abstract as much as about one particular species, i.e. spectacularized violence against women, which presents its own issues.”
My mother has told me a beautiful story since I was quite young. The story goes like this: Once when I was very small I followed my father into the bathroom where he was replacing a broken mirror. Somehow—the events get fuzzy here—I ended up in the bathroom alone, and she found me there sitting in the middle of the pile of broken pieces, squeezing them in my small fists. At the moment she found me, there was a split second when—as she saw the blood and broken bits surrounding me—she did not move. She could see that I was watching myself amplified over and over in the strange glass. I imagine this is the first time I had ever looked in a mirror, but that is only my imagination—I don’t remember.
* Gina Balibrera *
For my part, I remember regularly, systemically, intruding upon my little sister’s dreamstate. The idea occurred to me one night as she snored in the pull-out trundle beneath my twin bed. A perfect motor inside of her. Four years younger than me, I could pick her up whenever I felt like it, and I would. That night I lifted her into the closet, placed her gently amongst the sneakers, and shut the door, hopped back onto my bed. She awoke with a start, a snort, a gasp.
I recall standing on a platform before a television set, which was shrouded in funereal black cloth, and which played on loop a talk given by a grave white-haired scientist in a lab coat. The screen was grainy in a way I discerned to be fake: each trawling black worm was evenly sized, evenly spaced on the screen. The actor playing the scientist would cough when the screen broke up, due to an untimely earthquake disrupting the calm of his lab; the cough gave him away as an actor. My suspicion that the scientist was an actor made the film in which he appeared no less terrifying to me, a sensitive child, a nervous child.