…”Marine Layer” (BlazeVOX Books. 2015) by Kit Robinson.
We’d met playing pick-up basketball at Live Oak Park. (He was better.) He knew I’d written “Best Ride,” which warmed my heart, and we had a mutual friend — whom neither of us see any longer. Kit left our game, but when he joined my health club, I introduced him to the other poet I knew there as “a language poet.” (I must have read that somewhere for I did not know a “language poet” from a Baltimore oriole.) “Oh, is that what I am?” Kit said. When I said I was having difficulty with his poems’ meaning, he said, “What does ‘meaning’ mean?” Which was helpful.
Kit has published 20 books. In this one, the poems run a page or two. They are composed of simple, declarative lines, one lain atop another like bricks, but with no periods to hold them. Each word seems carefully chosen, but links between lines are not always apparent. They seem ordered more by internal, improvisatory associations than more customary and comforting principles.
The poems address time/moments. Memory. Appearance/disappearance. Fate/destiny. “(T)he conditional nature of existence.” There is frequent “mist” or “fog.” The poems can be funny too. Word play is often at work. “Workers of the word, unite,” Kit writes. “Home is where the harp is.” “Shine on Harley-Davidson.” Knowing of — and sharing — Kit’s interest in bball and Bob Dylan, it was fun to see Purvis Short and Crazy Chester on his pages. “I couldn’t shoot for shit” and “While fishermen hold flowers.” But here he is at his more gnarly:
No likelihood of neighborhood
Blue bottle fly by night stocking
Sovereignty is bat shit
The star inside the rock.
Or, how about:
A movie theater is a restaurant
A cigarette is a glass of milk.
Does it help that “A pronoun is a glass of milk” too?
I suggest rereadings. I suggest thinking. Some fog lifts. Some fog clears.