cover image Snowflake/ Different Streets

Snowflake/ Different Streets

Eileen Myles. Wave Books (Consortium, dist.), $20 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-1-933517-58-2

The newest from the legendary Myles (Sorry, Tree) is two books in one, printed in opposite directions in the same book, one more public-facing while the other is more private. Myles sets out “to look/ for the simplest/ & easiest/ words w/ no apparent/ edge.” Central to this seeking is motion, as subject and as method—some poems were even initially recorded while “Driving/ wiving with the/ land.” Clipped lines merge, inhabiting many places at once: “I was looking/ at the chandelier/ do you/ feel that/ way she/ asked/ I was driving/ through/ Los Angeles,” while moments of haiku-like grace serve as rest stops: “I saw a lightbulb/ flickering/ I moved towards it/ and it was morning/ help me birds/ I stood in it.” Motion, Myles reminds us, has its costs, personally (“it’s a strange gig/ this body I’m riding/ for 59 years”) and universally (“I saw a rose/ in the heart/ of the/ year two thousand one/ everything/ turning”). Conversational yet exact, Myles navigates contemporary landscape with seemingly effortless wit and tenderness. “I don’t have/ a working voice,” Myles writes, “I just have/ a voice that/ comes out the/ way it/ wants apart/ from me.” (Apr.)