About the Poems
by Jill Beauchesne
"The only true event, 200_": During the last Ice Age, a glacial lake covered what is now my town in western Montana. Periodically, the ice dam holding back this unique “inland sea” would fail, and the waters would explode downstream, emptying the lake and permanently scouring the landscape. Sometimes, I like to play with the folds of time in my head, and I pretend that somehow, I can contain and describe this type of mind-numbing extinction/exhilaration— that I am at once Ice Age and 2008, simultaneous destruction/flying.
"I ask not to believe in fluorescence": When I am angry, I tend to repeat myself. The things and people that make me angry tend to make me angry all over again. Sometimes I want to wish away progress, appetite, and fear. Sometimes kicking and screaming helps me.
"Preserving the hunted from the automated": I am not sure when the wolf crept into my life, or if she were present all along. Have you ever heard the howl of wolf in the wild? It is so unlike the howl of a coyote— it is calm, direct— and somehow, so quiet. The wolf was almost eradicated from the United States in the 1900’s. The wolf means so much for me. I cannot list it here.
"What collects in the cheek": As I grow older, it becomes (somewhat) easier to be honest with myself. For example, I often ask, “am I truly kind?” The answer is often, no. But more and more, I am able to identify my jealousy at others’ successes, my wistfulness. And at once comes the creative fire, calling me to write it, and, sometimes, to imagine even more violence within.
"Asking price": How dwell the most ethical behaviors? Lately I have been holding up my choices to the light. How have I been involved in the destruction of plant, animal? How have I participated, interacted with a mass of unblinking individuals staring at monitors and screens? In my admitted complicity, I often find a strange, simultaneous joy— I have found power in throwing in the towel, delighting in the descriptions of our 21st century madness, of my 30-something madness— as long as (and this is so important to me) I start over each poem, anew with choice, with a decision or the re-scripting of decision at every line.