That Which Comes After

Alexis Pope. Big Lucks, $12 trade paper (114p) ISBN 978-1-941985-43-4
Pope (Soft Threat) meditates on illness, the act of medicating, and the uncomfortable realities of a body’s yearning amid a noxious relationship in her second collection, essentially a long poem in untitled sections that blend into one another. “Why would you tell me/ Your depression amplifies/ The pain I’ve not been allowed,” Pope’s speaker asks a now-absent counterpart. Her compressed shorthand reflects the movement of the mind and accounts, list-like, for the quotidian acts one must perform in the course of a day. Her line breaks and linguistic shifts often resemble an emotionally laden stammer: “Couldn’t take me/ Into your arms last night/ Might be the last/ Where I tell you it’s all/ This time I mean/ Don’t take me back I won’t/ Take you anywhere/ With that attitude.” Pope’s great strength throughout is her surprising enjambments, which shift meaning and attention from one line to the next. “Lie to me in the winter/ I’m doing better/ push my foot into the shoes/ lace doesn’t make me sexier/ than I already am,” she writes. By focusing on the internal and domestic spaces of body, bed, and home, Pope imbues them with value and complexity: “Trace the nostalgia/ Of this forfeiture/ As if I’ve built/ Anything with these hands.” (May)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
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