Painted Bride Quarterly’s Slush Pile

Episode 69: Memories in Connecticut

June 6, 2019

Hello Slushies, new and old. Welcome to another episode of the Slushpile! On this week’s podcast, we will be discussing poems by Yumi Dineen Shiroma. 

First up is a MEGApoem and no, we are not over-exaggerating. However, here at the Painted Bride Quarterly, we always go big or go home, so Kathleen took two deep breaths and jumped right into reading the first poem, “Welcome to Connecticut”. Immediately, we were quick to realize that even though it would be a difficult one to read for a podcast, it was oh so worth it. 

Samantha compared this to the work of Tommy Orange and his book, "There, There." Marion recalled Middlemarch, and other literary works came to mind (if we can call The Omen literary?).

This is a piece that took us into the mind of Yumi and its rhythm was “like a flood”. The crew felt as if the inner-dialogue brought them into a world of its own with memories so grand, we just want to stay in that moment, or literally-speaking, re-read certain lines to relive it.  

This poem brought a lot of suppressed memories for our Tim Fitts, one of which was a terrifying flashback of a woman driving with a dog on her lap, while texting. The least she could have done was pick one reckless decision at a time, or better yet, just drive?

All in all, this fun and humorous piece awakened a wide range of emotions in the gang, and even had Kathleen’s thumbs up from the moment she read the title. Listen in, to find out the direction of everyone else’s opposable thumbs.  

The next poem titled “A Surfeit of Saturation and Light / Hungry Ghost,” smartly used nouns as verbs and vice versa. Our own music genius, Tim Fitts, also said that this poem had a perfect pitch, so who are we to argue with that! 

Yumi’s second piece was consensually described as "weird without being goofy" and "smart without being pretentious.” Now that would make a million-dollar t-shirt! 

It seems both poems dived into the subconscious of the gang because Marion was reminded of the time she was possessed by demon in Singapore. You just have to listen to get the details.

Random yes, but after listening to this podcast, do you agree with Tim Fitts that people are going to start smoking again when the zombies come? In addition, how do they pronounce “water” where you live? 

 

Yumi Dineen Shiroma is a PhD student in English at Rutgers University, where she studies the theory and history of the novel. Her poetry has previously appeared in BOMB, Hyperallergic, Peach Mag, and Nat. Brut, and her chaplet, A Novel Depicting "The" "Asian" "American" "Experience,"was recently published by Belladonna*. You can find her on Twitter at @ydshiroma.

 

 

Welcome to Connecticut, Land of Death and Rebirth

 

I had run through fields in white pants bleeding

from the eye I recalled as I ran through the field

in my white pants bleeding from the eye and you

walked beside me your briefcase your flannel your messenger bag

 

Your spontaneous face your spontaneous face your

spontaneous face where one won’t expect you are mine

in the field in the valley in the valley in the tunnel

spooled through your spatialized mind you are mine

 

as a tea-kettle whistles at the heat I love you

tryna drink my cold brew in the window as you walk

by and by and walk by and walk by in my cat’s eye

shade in your shade with the tassel in her ear I am yours

I run my virtual hand through her virtual hand

 

11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. do yoga stare at trees, location:

trees. I grew so much this year your year gray

hairs an evening fishing for eels in the creek

a season overlays space the meeting of homogeneous

empty and messianic times where time informs our time

spent among any given spatial totality and you walk

by the window and

 

#thinking about #revenge again she shreds

the straw with my teeth the buttons done up

to the neck like you used to do again

the hand on my head the head-

stubble (oedipal, stacy suggests)

 

conference next slide none of the backs of the heads

look like you and a season overlays time like you in

cambridge a casaubon like dorothea

in rome a casaubon whose fits in the center

for rare books and special

collections prove non-fatal

 

the trick was throwing my phone in the compost moving

on with my life in my arms and I walk

ostentatiously past the window as you walk

by the window in my new vegan

leather freezing the air with my breath

 

gcal notification total knowledge project due

today you have executed your total knowledge project

with aplomb the crowd explodes tickertape and katy perry

songs for him the king of the total knowledge project

 

breaking a dish on my wrist I watch

from the kitchen your faithful wife and staunch

the blood with the tapestry she weaves night in night

out of my limited intellectual means with its warp

of fact with its weft of I feel like

 

You fucking moron don’t you know I’m in love, walking you

back and forth my fingers staining the window blocking the natural light

this high noon I still cough at the smoke and the smoke still smells

like you in my lungs bent over your total knowledge project

(sign on the door a girl in a dress reading OMEN)

 

I love you as a tea-kettle whistles at the heat

as a window won’t lock when the dust weeps in

she allows the pipes to freeze and burst, changes

the locks and you aren’t coming back

recognizing neither my face nor my name

I take the train

 

you once told me about your people their

parlors and names their inhibitions

how they questioned the wisdom

of classifying even the seemingly non-sexual

passions as libidinal

 

back in your stomping grounds welcome to connecticut

land of death and rebirth says the wizened

crone on the metro north stirring her coffee a yellow nail

a greek key cup a fleck of krispy kreme in the fates she thought

I would die before she saw rome she thought

she would die before she saw rome she thought

she would take you with me

 

I once told you about my people how they lacked

objects to organize their lives their fucking a figure

for interconnectedness a leftist poem writ

in my blood just for you the object arrives

with me and ends at last with me in the object-

narrative (you called my name and it was the name of the LORD)

 

holden will walk me to class the day I can’t

breathe because of my pollen allergy

because I’ve lost you because she’d lost you

sam would bring me a glass of wine in bed

as he walks by the window he walks

by the window he walks by the window you walk

 

I love you as you walk by the window and she loves you

as I love the pills she swallows with wine to draw

a circle of salt around my heart to keep you out

like a mouth loves a lost tooth drooling blood I love

 

the way that she loves the pizza delivery

man like the lost and found where he found her umbrella again

between the storm that cold summer day I left it again

again distracted by you

 

I saw her standing, drawing off her glove, standing contrapposto in her limited edition Doc Martens. I saw her standing in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I saw her standing before a red canvas, standing contrapposto. I said: She looks like the statue of Artemis. I desired to paint her as I would sketch a charcoal sketch of the statue of Artemis, I told her: You look like the statue of Artemis. We debated the merits of visual versus textual representation, their transparency, their potential for eloquent distortion, to reveal the truth of a truth that overwhelms truth with its canvas of red. I saw her stand.

 

I once told you about my people they were

prophets all, burned in the brain the prophet

who buries herself in new haven will rise from the earth

in 17 years reborn reborn in the mouth of 2013

 

your name in her mouth like a cut like a cut like I always got lost

in a city any city like the dreams of being naked or lost

in my city I always got lost in the wrong metaphor

like she always got lost in your spatialized mind in the

box house and metaphor and the train and the train

they claimed could only move one way

 

 

 

 

A Surfeit of Saturation and Light / Hungry Ghost

 

The foxes hold their wedding at the base of the mountain

They wait for the rainbows to banner the sky

For the rain to fall while the sun shines

Their normative ideas about the future keep them yoked

            to such couplings

No matter what dreams they might have held for themselves

Dressed in your finest you buy them two voles off their registry

I catch the bouquet of narcissus, willow and peony

You walk through a field in black and white

            and you walk through another field in green

            and one in gold

 

I love you a 29-year-old sprung fully formed

            from the pit of a peach

Charisma in your footsteps

            and your heart so impetuous

            and your eye flits along the fields of differing colors

I stand every day on the New Brunswick train station platform

            waiting for you

Tapping my foot with a sound like water on stone

You reproduce yourself exactly in each of your children

My throat is too narrow for the hole in my stomach to be filled

Which is why I need you, stepping from the train, clothed

            in the skin of the peach

 

But you are a bad man

Bumming around in the rice fields

You are the fox in her house dress who sits by the window

            watching the hens

Your heart is full of peach pulp and fuzz and the fruit

            around the pit is sour

You are not the monk in his field of persimmon trees

You are not the painter eating his blues

Nor are you the blues or their valuable pigment

You are a man who sprang from the pit of a peach

I loved you while my hair was still buzzed with the #3 clippers

I came to meet you, as far as the platform

 

The oni rifle through my desk for valuables

They take $300 in cash, my ID cards

They take my money to their castle in the sky

I will grow older and you will grow older and the foxes will fuck

            beneath the rafters of the porch

You will fight the oni in the sky for me

But I can also fight the oni in the sky

I can climb up to the castle on the hill

 

You have met so many amazing people on this journey

You have this really special connection with the fox

            and the pheasant

            and the monkey who stands, hand pressed to his silent mouth

I press and hold my hand to my mouth

I am biting the peach pit in half with my sharp fox teeth