cover image Carrier Wave

Carrier Wave

Jaswinder Bolina. University Press of Colorado, $16.95 (84pp) ISBN 978-1-885635-09-9

Bolina's debut concerns itself with the lapse between language and reality: a lofty theme, for sure, and one that is often tackled in poetry-perhaps in every poem-with varying degrees of success. Bolina proclaims with great confidence, ""I move on foot down avenues between things and the names of things."" His opening poem immediately addresses how language f ails, reading as if static or code is interfering with an important message: ""You'll respond: Leaky Robot Toilet Training Nebulous Tree Wanda Why'd you leave me at the bus stop your eyes resolute signposts?"" Too often, Bolina's abstractions fail or become redundant, obscuring this obviously talented poet's ability to play language games with the best of them, as he does in ""Gauche I repeated"": ""Gauche offered the faucet flushing, tin foil arcing the microwave...Gauche, I repeated knowing this meant something other but felt like applause, how a tire in rain makes applause. How after her strokes my grandmother's breathing sounded like a word foreign to her that sounded like breathing."" The poems that enact rather than expound on theory are most successful: ""I wear headphones everywhere, which makes the folks passing seem somewhat out of sync with each other. The street is in b-minor, small and meek: a cat rubbing up against your leg, that sound your mother makes when you're falling down the stairs.""