Kaya was risk averse. While our older dog Sappho bloodied her nails scrambling up scree and once gashed her ears tailing an elk through barbed wire, Kaya stayed at our sides with four paws on the ground. She walked off leash for most of her life, rarely enjoyed running, and endured 4th of July fireworks by standing with her head stretched under a coffee table.
In At the Kinnegad Home for the Bewildered, Levine begins his cinematic collection with the lifeblood line of the book in the second poem: “we know there is something more.” As he shifts in and out of the domestic and the divine in his poems, we feel a deep longing for kinship and connect with a speaker who is unabashed in his belief in what isn’t wholly known. Sometimes, we are located within a piece of art, and at other times, we are right in the middle of a myth or standing there, cooking in his kitchen.
We wake like bees and peel a lemon. / Then there is a glowing. / Do you want to eat it wedge by wedge?
In this landscape, churches seem displaced. / Half close your eyes in quiet contemplation, / look behind the convents and the crosses.
Because the day changed you. Because your sister just left / one day and made you the one who. Because you forget
We do not know what a body can do… / how when she crossed the street
Whenever the revolution breaks out / in this country, he’s ready to go, dressed / in camouflage all the way up to the visor
System of Ghosts is not an archive of spirits or dead things, but an analysis of the living. The reader is not a complacent audience waiting to be entertained, but an active traveler.
This conference room could be in any country, any town: a pale wooden podium, bright overhead lighting, an army of white-clothed tables and a carpet with loud corporate swirls. The difference is with the babies.
I Have Been a Liar
I have lied, a cowardly man,
a lover of your kind; merely in mind;
movie-making, I have spent my seasons
coming, counting time by tissue:
quivering cock, finger-clenched, crazed.