Poetry is my way out of silence. In my work I expose silence—all of the things left unsaid, unexplored, unnamed. Poetry is an act of reckoning for me, sometimes reveling, but most often reckoning. It’s about my willingness to let my guard down, to be vulnerable, honest, true (at least my best attempt to be all of those things)— in all, to be a witness to my experience. Poetry is a form of release for me; a poem represents an inner self emerging and then re-arranging itself on the page making it accessible to others. My poetry is a moment in time, a moment that moved through me—a moment of emotions, thoughts, questions, memories, sensations—with both the conscious and the subconscious at work. I search for some kind of truth I can live with, a truth for me in the moment.
I love the physical, the palpable, the tactile, the flesh. I try to enter into bodily experience, the physical world—the world of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. I expose the physical body. As I write this, my neck and chest are getting little patches of red blotches that look like hives. That is what I mean by exposure; for me exposure is often an act of unveiling the uncomfortable or unsettling, letting what’s under the surface emerge like patches of hot skin.
When I was four I saw the head of a mountain goat mounted on a wall at a mountain lodge and it terrified me. I screamed, “What did they do to it, mommy?” The image of those glazed, marble eyes haunted me. So did the blank stare and the absence of the body. The goat was an object—a being on display, but dead inside. The political often, though not exclusively by any means, enters into my work via the body, and most often women’s bodies. Often a political and/or specifically feminist subtext exists under the surface of my poems—under the surface of the image, like the image of the goat’s head stuck on a wall.
The body holds so much and has so much to say. The body has a language and is a witness. This should come through in my work. Emotion is so linked to the body, the physical, and that is what I often look for in poetry. The feeling of vulnerability that surfaces with this comes from the fact that often, my work (and the work I’m drawn to) is quite personal, intimate and open. My poems are usually descriptions, stories, narratives, moments of insight, revelations. In a way I feel that I’m storytelling. I tell stories, specific stories from specific moments, recounting something with a sense of immediacy and intimacy often, but not exclusively, with the present tense and the first person perspective. Poetry is an intimate exchange from one voice to another, a passing of the baton from poet to reader as if to say, “Here, take this, it is your poem now. Let it speak to you.”