cover image The Soft Life

The Soft Life

Bridget Talone. Wonder, $14.95 trade paper (86p) ISBN 978-0-9895985-9-0

Talone displays a exquisite talent for morphing chatty patois into an almost operatic moan in her debut, a sort of barely controlled panic in which tragedy masquerades as text message. “Up our ears the laurels giddy./ Way champagney. Way,” she writes in “Drink Now, Because My Life Is Magnified in Me.” Talone peppers her work with a spicy brand of irreverent lament that slowly builds into a rally-cry crescendo. The poems are erotic and unsettling, giving off the feeling of picking at the scabs of a wound that won’t heal. Talone ably relates the experience of having a body full of desire that is too often restricted by the fact of being desired by those who are more powerful. She explores the violence of preciousness, popping the heads off of dolls, implicating the reader in the destruction of the female body and its representations. She also tenderizes the carnal lexicon (cream, peep holes, videos, spit, bulging) with such lines as “Doubly penetrated// god oh wow. Orange eyed. Suppress that. / Timidly Kimberly breathed her name// onto the glass.” Throughout, Talone produces a sensation of dread mixed with longing, as well as a recognition of the power generated by fully understanding that which wants to destroy you. (Apr.)