A dance with the carousel, Invisible Wife, a symbolist dance that lives on the edge of ecstatic experience, a woman’s scream that bangs in the New Age Renaissance Republic of poetry. Sarah Fox (Poet, writer, teacher, astrologer, worker, placenta encapsulator, artist, grandmother, resister) lives and writes in Minneapolis. She has published two books with Coffee House Press.
The cover of this Chapbook is an excellent introduction, an art nouveau piece, the head of a woman seems to be screaming over enlarged legs, and if you look again, in a trick of the light, it looks like she is a dancer with arms in an arc over her head. Both states are intertwined in this Art Nouveau poetry Chapbook, at once a protest at the state of power conundrums that hurt us and at the same time a dance with darkness, light and the state of serial relationships.
The poetry begins with a poem about Frida Kahlo, as if spinning mythologies and stories, about the Symbolist painter who was in a severe trolley accident and spent a lot of time in a body cast, painting from her bed. A controversial relationship with the painter Diego, Frida Kahlo did not have any children although she had several miscarriages.
“Don’t take the bus. Order burritos.Poet Fox is spinning a symbolist poetry confection with edge, a blue rendition of a song.
In Mexico City and Chiapas, women’s
rights. In Frida Kahlo, Diego. In Diego,
Marxism and a few babies.”
The title itself, Invisible Wife, touches on the lost woman inside the darkness of her husband’s psyche, his power and his disconnect, someone not fully in her power, at the behest of the patriarchy. He is represented by snake imagery and as someone lost in a forest, suggesting violence. The wife is redemption, “My heart is also invisible, to me. But it sings in tune.”
Symbolist imagery of the goddess, the crone, nature, the body, birth, death and dancing, this poetry sings. Cadence is achieved through repetition, and spins into dialectic, spins into wholeness, spins into magic. A truthtelling, that haunts the nature of intimate relationships, serial marriages, the old school advice from Good Housekeeping magazine in 1955, the reality of power conundrums in intimate relationships and the effects of broken marriages on the body and the psyche. From First Aid Kit
“Radical lying is an unimaginable violence –Enigmatic, as if clothed in mystery, a story is being told in broken thought forms, sometimes in narrative, a one-sided conversation. The story itself lives in symbols and pictures.
a violence now imprinting in psyche everywhere:
I hear the leader speak or see his words and I bleed
through my outerwear. I bleed all the way
back through my wedding day. I wore
blue velvet. Lol.”
“I’m imagining a tail on the wedding dress.
A whip. Something ugly like driftwood.
Something like a deer climbing out
of driftwood. Someone lifting
the driftwood up out of the river
they were crying into. Someone
lifting medicine out of the bride and
lifting the bride out of the ghost.
Someone exorcising the ghost from the truth.”
In Save Me – for Worldwide Discotheque, it as if the poem is set in a dance hall, people are dancing, the lines of poetry are people dancing and saying “Save Me”. An ingenue poetica of truth and protest,
“We need to think up better endings for our stories.
These tears of mine are justified. To be honest, every Jesus
is terrible. What’s another word for dance? Mother’s milk.
Save me. Endless darkness that is not darkness.”
A brilliant invocation against the violence of the war economy society, the brokenness in ended intimate relationships, the poetry spinning mythologies into dance. A brilliant read. Invisible Wife by Sarah Fox.