Tuesday, May 15, 2012



Coeur De Lion by Ariana Reines
(Fence Books, Albany, N.Y., 2011)

Coeur De Lion is a booklength epistolary poem in which an Ariana addresses a Jake about their failed relationship.  Engaging emotional archaeology ensues.

      Thinking about a person. Surely
      That act releases something
      Into the atmosphere.  A toxin?
      Now that I am not addressing you
      But the “you” of poetry
      I am probably doing something horrible and destructive.
      But this “I” is the I of poetry
      And it should be able to do more than I can do.   

And it does.  It does.

Relationships encompass, knit together, more than lovers know.  When the circle is broken, when the skein of yarns becomes so hopelessly snarled that it must be cut, every scrap of memory, every utterance recalled, becomes a labyrinth.

                                It’s hard
      To separate a body from
      The words it lets fall.

Part of the book’s message is the mess.

      The day after
      We first had sex
      I had a soft and complicated feeling.
      I put a condom on you, and then we took it off.
      You fucked me without it, and I liked you.
      I remember what you looked like as you undid your things.
      The condom stayed on my bedside table
      For the length of our stay in the hotel.
      The day after our first night
      I had a beer with Hannes.
      I had sex with Jake, I said.
      How do you feel about that, he said.
      I don’t know, I said.
      I don’t know.

      Does sex ever make
      You feel so specific
      And alone, Jake, that your heart
      Could break?

Coeur De Lion is heartbreakingly specific and breathtakingly beautiful.


Tom Beckett is working on, and through, Appearances.  His most recent book is Parts and Other Pieces (Otoliths).  He lives in Kent, Ohio.

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