notecard on where, how earth should be capitalized
(this poem owes something to edward mullany’s “ragtime.”)
i don’t reach the circled parts of your face. here is an earth.
part of my face was once a deer spot. here is an earth.
there’s no long pale for what you saw in the earth.
i know i know i know how soft it is.
i know i know i know how far it goes down.
skin collapses and collapses further
into us. here is an earth.
[here is how earth dreams as a man:
the woods are thick.
there’s a long stick in my hand,
a yellow dog and vines around my feet.
coming towards me is a piece of film
cut into the shape of a man.
he is a loop of imploding ash and rock.
i reach with the stick.]
soil, out drinking old calendars.
soil, i feel a little mountain bad.
soil, i don’t know how the lower case makes its sound.
soil, i am a jaw a jaw
a jaw on a swim.
your cheek opens, my cheek opens.
they know how soft
they must be.
( ) ( ) ( )
the dark ground is barking smoke. a cough clouds
around us. voices sinks below the jawline in pain.
here is the earth.
i don’t know i don’t where it needs.
10 Questions with Carrie Lorig
1. What is the meaning of this?
i don’t know what my earth is that it is this red. i don’t know why on earth there is so much broken field. i am in this earth and soil is turning and turning over, trying to be right for green. in that, i see how my face works, my heart place. i want the ground to snap until i might understand the way our face planets circle, the way their orbits and gravitational pulls hurt one another, despite having no choice but to pull and circle at the moons and rocks and other planets in space.
2. Who do you think you are?
i think i am carrie lorig. i think i am made of pain cattle. they are red and pull the plains around. then there are these voices that can watch the pain cattle and make their sounds, but they are not them. that feels important. it’s probably stupid, but i think they might save me. because they are not just me. they are the you living just under the desert. they are the you reaching through the skinny pines. they are the you that packs into me the cigarette breath of letters.
3. On whose authority?
whatever words it is that live between us.
4. What were you thinking?
i was reading edward mullany’s, if i falter at the gallows, and it gave me a voice rattling with empty boots. the poem, “ragtime,” ends this way: “Here is an earth. Here is another earth. Here is another earth.” i began to think about when the earth is a name and when it is a way to describe what the named planet is made of. how that changed the tallness of the letters, and thus, the shadows they make. but more importantly, in that phrase, i saw the earths as people, with faces for land. [the Carrie who is also made of carrie.] i saw them as the long pale that goes on, and i wondered if they could touch, if they ever opened and turned over inside of each other. this past year, i have faltered somewhat in believing they can, but i will still keep trying to give to you, earths. i do want to.
5. Where would you get an idea like that?
i don’t think there is work without conversation, without lying on different parts of other bodies, without being covered in differently tasted fingerprints. i don’t think i’m interested in work that isn’t stained with other teeth. without talking so much with you, i’m just the “i” with a pretty decent amount of crippling fear. i’m pretty sure about that.
6. Why on earth?
the layers that are here. the several cores that even go so far as to cough mildly up here with us. (hi, volcanos.) this horizon lined face made out of tall air and changing temperatures and this tongue made of dark worm skin and close lipped seeds and these eyes that can get so fucking fat with looking.
7. Since when?
a) since the poem’s cheek shattered and became this size. b) since failure. since i told my friend that i speak more simply in my poems. i was right, and, of course, i wasn’t. i was trying to say something gets shaken off here, that something grows right. my friend’s face got wrinkled and made sounds like a trash bag.
8. You and whose army?
my pain cattle have these shoulders they round together. hooves tear the ground quick when they get up to a run. birds and wolves and men follow them for different reasons.
9. Did it ever occur to you?
occur is such a quick little back flip and then the hands upstretched in victory. i wish sometimes, but i remain wary. how long before the freak rust sets in on that almost laughable concept, truth? this place that occur says it could be leading us to? it’s never long. i’m not saying that destroys it. it’s just more complicated than i know or i don’t. i care deeply about all the human in that, about all the noticing it demands. the real guts stare up from the sensation of mutating trash on the page. (to steal your phrase, james.)
10. How do you sleep at night?
with not enough nearby.
Carrie Lorig lives in Minneapolis, MN. She has an orange bike for legs and a shattered cheek from so much poetry. She is lucky to have poems in Forklift, OH, NAP magazine, red lightbulbs, along with some other places.