I fall in love with a cowboy in the middle of a great tragedy. the great tragedy is my life.
I love a title that I can’t say without bringing the back of my hand to my forehead and affecting a Katherine Hepburn voice. Anthony Hopkins affected a Katherine Hepburn voice for the role of Hannibal Lector. I have hungered for a book like this a cannibal hungers for flesh. This is like getting a text from my boss that says OMG, this book. This book is forty-nine pages, it’s a chapbook, with the kind of shimmering density that dances and transcends that giant, strapping books can never achieve. I want to quote the whole thing.
in real life I am at a bar wearing a white lace dress with a collar taking whiskey shots and fighting about the significance of mania or I am in the streets wearing white stockings and falling down and having done so give myself permission to stay up late eating icing. tomorrow I will spend a long time considering the potassium content of bananas and comparing the labels on cereal boxes in an effort to refrain from falling down or I will run up and down all of the stairs in red leather stilettos or I am soaking my teacups in brine. I coddle eggs in jars or bake tiny muffins in heart-shaped tins or roll out dough on the kitchen table while reciting long passages from sylvia plath’s biopic. I am frightened and little orchards emerge. I buy organic milk organic eggs tofu and three kinds of coffee, one of which is icing-flavored. in the morning I will drink three cups of icing-flavored coffee and read blogs and wear my apron until noon. I will think of what it is like to live in the land of the free.
Carina Finn’s poetry is the icing-flavored coffee of the English language. I knew I needed this book when Finn posted COSTUME DRAMECONOMIES (WHAT THE NEW NEW SINCERITY CAN DO FOR YOU!) at Montevidayo. Finn said she arrived at her final thesis reading at Notre Dame “in a pretty typical outfit: red-orange lace babydoll dress, white thigh-high fishnets with giant bows, black over-the-knee boots, a blue satin ribbon from a poet-friend worn as a belt.” When she was finished reading, no one spoke to her.
I wonder whether my ideas would have been received differently had I worn a black suit, or even a dress that was not bright red, or had eschewed the fishnets and boots in favor of some sensible heels or ballet flats. But, as is always the case when I read or speak in public, my outfit was a major component of my performance. A director wouldn’t send a Violetta onstage to sing Sempre Libera in sweatpants, and I wouldn’t throw myself into a hostile intellectual environment without my fishnets & bows.
Without Finn’s fishnets and bows, I would not throw myself into a hostile intellectual environment, I would not brave that cold and stupid world. Woe to those who diffuse tantrums: you’re in trouble. “in real life I discover that diet cereal does in fact taste like cardboard + I have managed not to kill myself for three days in a row which is an accomplishment.” I like books that admit that admitting does nothing, that transcription is impossible, that catharsis does not answer its own questions, is not a neat phallic mushroom-cloud, that Anne Sexton’s analyst was a fuckhead. When asked why it took her thirty years to write poetry, Sexton told theParis Review in issue number fifty-two that her analyst told her the value of her poems lay in what was springing forth without her knowledge – the secrets she was too damaged to appreciate – not the skill with which she crafted them. “I didn’t know I had any creative depths.” Carina Finn knows and she knows it shows. She affixes her depths to her babydoll dress. Little orchards emerge. Even when she is frightened, look at what is wrought.
I go to a lot of bars or apartments mostly to get very drunk and coordinate outfits by text message from across town or spend an entire day getting lost with a purpose. in the afternoon it is so white or I am standing on the wrong subway platform watching the sunshine like murderlight or morning-sex light in french films and this foreign man walks up to me and tells me I am beautiful and asks permission to ride the train with me like it is okay to be so earnestly romantic in the afternoon or I am a girl getting into a taxi alone and asking to be taken to the site of a disaster.
Carina Finn’s My Life is a Movie is available now from Birds of Lace with a banana colored cover with an overflowing froth of candy pink innards for the price of a venti mocha cookie frappuccino. Get both. Let them cut to your interior.